Martin Luther King Jr. Event

November 13, 2018

John Kwarm ‘13 offered the keynote address at Brigham Young University’s Community Outreach Day, an annual service event held to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Kwarm is the Deputy Title IX Coordinator at BYU.

Kwarm focused his remarks on the importance of lifelong service. “I hope to inspire you to devote yourselves to living a life full of service, especially that type of service that typically goes unrewarded but is always needed.”

Kwarm said that the men and women of the Civil Rights Movement are examples to him of service. “Their experiences, their commitment to see America live up to the values we believe in, and their sacrifices were tremendous acts of service,” he said.

Kwarm spoke of how the actions of the civil rights activists was aimed at pursuing ideals and overcoming injustice. “As an American, I am grateful for the strength displayed and the sacrifices made by people who knew that as a nation we were not living up to our ideals,” he said. “They have made us better through their service and their sacrifice.”

Kwarm urged community members to use the example of civil rights activists as an inspiration to serve. “Like those who came before us, you have a lot to offer….You are talented in your own way,” he said.

Kwarm shared what he called a “Good Samaritan” experience that had a significant impact on his thoughts about service. As a college student, while traveling home late in the night from his summer job, his car broke down on the highway. After he was stranded for some time, a family stopped to help him. They drove him into the nearest town, contacted a mechanic, and paid for his needed repairs. Kwarm explained the impact of this service. “I realized that there were still good people out there being good people because that’s who they were, even if it came at a cost to them,” he said. “I became more willing to render that same type of service myself and become that Good Samaritan.”

Kwarm concluded his remarks by emphasizing that service has an impact on both the one serving and the one being served. Quoting Dr. King, he said, “‘Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve.’”