The Americus Times-Recorder
On Jan. 15, 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 84 years old. But because of his untimely death in April of 1968, we can only study his life, remember his words and look back at his legacy. A crowd of several hundred students, faculty, staff and community members did that today as Karla Heath-Sands delivered the keynote speech at Georgia Southwestern State University’s (GSW) annual MLK Convocation in the Student Success Center.
Joined on the program with University administrators, local ministers and event organizers, Heath-Sands took a special look at King’s famous “I Have Dream” speech and invited those in attendance to examine their own purpose.
“How does your dream play into the bigger picture?” she asked the large crowd. “Are you open and accepting of all people? Ask yourself that question. What am I here for?”
According to Heath-Sands, a poll voted on by scholars in the late 1990s ranked King’s famous speech the top American speech of the 20th century. Originally titled “Normalcy, Never Again,” the speech was recited Aug. 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It called for an end to racism and cited the Emancipation Proclamation written 100 years prior.
Heath-Sands continued by encouraging people to value one another despite differences. “I do believe that old saying, ‘we agree to disagree,’ but do we respect all people?”
Since 1997, Heath-Sands has worked at WALB-TV in Albany. She currently serves as anchor of Newscenter 10’s 12 p.m. news and co-hosts “Today in Georgia.” She also hosts WALB's public affairs program, “Dialogue.” Originally from Brunswick, Heath-Sands started her career in 1989 at WMAZ-TV in Macon as a weathercaster and community service director.
The Mercer University graduate has a B.A. in English and has been at home on stage for most of her life. She has been a participant in the Miss America Pageant system placing fourth runner-up in the 1982 Miss Georgia Pageant as Miss Macon. She placed second in 1985 as Miss Brunswick-Golden Isles.