Jennfier Jung / For The Lantern
The name Danny Glover brings to mind movie titles like “Lethal Weapon” or “The Color Purple” for many, but his speech at Ohio State wasn’t about his acting career.
Glover showed about 600 students, staff and faculty members that he is an activist and a humanitarian when he spoke at OSU’s 41st annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. program celebration at the Ohio Union on Tuesday.
“Sometimes when you see entertainers, you have the tendency to forget that they are human beings, but they can be activists. They can be for a genuine cause,” said Larry Williamson Jr., the director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Frank W. Hale, Jr. Black Cultural Center. “They can be helping all people.”
Growing up in the 1960s, Glover was influenced by the Civil Rights Movement in his adolescent life.
“When I went to college, it was only 10 years after the Montgomery bus boycott, that’s a whole level of history and inspiration that I had that’s available to me,” Glover said.
Glover said that environment made him passionate about activism.
“Whether it was something unconscious, or whether it was something that I drew on in every stage in my life, I wanted to be like those people who I saw marching. I wanted to be like those people who I saw boycotting. I wanted to be like them,” Glover said in his speech.
Glover also put emphasis on how his own college experience at San Francisco State University had an impact on him and described it as “one of the most intense, yet one of the most incredible, learning experiences and growth periods of my life.”
Despite the movies he’s famous for, Glover did not mention his acting life much during the event, sponsored primarily by Diversity and Inclusion.
“My first idea in terms of myself was nowhere in the place where I wanted to be an actor, but had everything to do with political activism that emerged at that particular time,” he said.
Glover brought up topics like global warming and the inequalities in Africa and Latin American countries and reminded attendees about the importance of global connections.
“You don’t live in isolations,” he said. “You can get your … degree and everything else, but if you want to be here, you can’t just be by yourself.”
The actor said he is working on a movie in Haiti about an escaped slave and the Haitian Revolution.
Students at the event said the speech was very informative and they felt called to humanitarian action.
“It was definitely interesting to hear his perspectives and some of the things that impacted him and what he saw with his own eyes looking at the Civil Rights Movement,” said Shannon Jeffries, a second-year in psychology.
Nadiyah Harper, a second-year in fashion and retail studies, said the speech was a wake-up call.
“It is inspiring to me just to see that they were our age when they did all of it. (I) kind of feel like our generation is lazy when it comes to certain things, so it’s very informative,” Harper said.
OSU’s African American Voices Gospel Choir was also featured at the event.