North Central College alumna NeAngela Marshall delivered an inspiring address about the power of words to students, faculty, staff and guests at the College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast Jan. 20.
Marshall graduated from North Central in 2004 with a major in organizational communication and went on to earn a law degree. She is an assistant state’s attorney in the Domestic Violence Division of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she handles prosecutions related to crimes of sexual violence and child abuse.
“As a student here at North Central I attended these Martin Luther King prayer breakfasts and sat where you are today,” Marshall told the audience. “My experience at North Central drew me to my work as an advocate for others.”
The theme of MLK Week at the College this year is “The Power of Words,” and Marshall spoke about how using words to encourage others delivers a powerful message.
“Encouraging others is easy, but it’s very powerful,” she said. “As a student at North Central I learned how using my words could influence public policy and resolve conflict. Before I knew it, I had a career in advocacy.”
King spoke at North Central College in 1960. Marshall recalled how in his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” the civil rights leader implored others to use their voices to counter injustice and inequality.
“True advocacy requires us to use our words,” Marshall said. “Our silence can project a complete disregard for the value of another life. We must use our words to speak up for those who are poor or who suffer injustice. A dream is a personal experience. When Dr. King used his words, he turned a dream into a reality.”
At North Central, Marshall participated in the College’s Premier Scholars and Junior/Senior Scholars programs and was active with the Black Student Association and Student Governing Association. She was welcomed at the prayer breakfast by North Central College President Dr. Troy D. Hammond.
“It is always my pleasure to welcome alumni back to campus and to have current students witness your success,” Hammond told Marshall and the audience. “North Central has a long and proud history of inclusiveness, beginning with its founding in 1861 when it welcomed both male and female students, which was unusual at the time. Today we continue our commitment to inclusion and understanding.”