The world and CSU students need to appreciate diversity, said United Nations Ambassador and civil rights leader Andrew Young in the Lory Student Center Tuesday night.
Young, who held several diplomatic offices, ranging from his negations with the delegates of China and Russia to battling to keep lunch money in public school, said addressing issues of diversity isn’t always easy.
“You need to take a challenge and turn it into an opportunity,” he said in regards to his lunch money conflicts. “I think diversity has to be a part of your personal life. You have to know how to deal with the different peoples and forces around you.”
The method of survival in this world, he said, is being able to find a common ground with anybody.
He spoke of playing tennis with the Russian ambassador and never having a Russian veto at the United Nations because of the relationship they formed on the Tennis court. He also said that in breaking bread with someone, something spiritual can happen, even if it is with an enemy.
“I think we saw that we could live as brothers instead of perishing as fools,” he said.
Young was an aid to Martin Luther King during the Civil Right’s Movement.
During this time, businesses in Birmingham, Alabama were asking how to get their African American customers back. Young and King suggested that they take down their “white” and “colored” signs and hire black clerks in their stores.
They were one of the first to organize a successful sit-in at a lunch counter.
They went on to perform the same sit-in experiment and observation for one full month. This too went over smoothly, and after three months, they had managed to completely desegregate 100 businesses in Birmingham.
Young said CSU students need to start thinking about the world in a new way as it moves forward.
“I thought it (the speech) was good. Pretty much what you’d expect from a keynote speaker. His personal experience spoke a lot in his message so it was inspiring,” said Sheila Losinski, a freshman creative writing major.
Near the end of his speech, Young spoke about moving forward and using creative thinking.
“Your school is about taking the challenges and using your science, your research, and your innovations to turn something into a marketable product, but also to solve problems. It’s a new way of creative thinking,” Young said.
Staff writer Cece Wildeman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.