[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                  February 22, 2008

Black History Month speaker 
shares dreams, inspirations

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      People should live their dreams and encourage everyone else to pursue and follow their dreams in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said the installation's Black History Month guest speaker.

Photo: Evrod Cassimy, a television reporter and rhythm and blues singer, tells the audience about his dreams and inspirations during a Black History Month observance at McCoy. (Photo by Allan Harding)
Evrod Cassimy, a television reporter and rhythm and blues singer, tells the audience about his dreams and inspirations during a Black History Month observance at McCoy. 
(Photo by Allan Harding)

      Evrod Cassimy, a reporter for a Madison television station and a rhythm and blues singer, shared his talents and philosophies with members of the Fort McCoy community during the Feb. 14 observance.

       "You had a dream," he said to the military members in the audience. "You're in uniform, defending the country, and freedom of speech. You're doing a great service so all others can have (and follow) their dreams."

      Cassimy said he dreamed of becoming a singer to touch and inspire other people. It was difficult to balance that with going to college.

      He worked full-time from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. From 6-10 p.m., he went to school, where he graduated on time with a degree in broadcast journalism. And from 10 p.m.-2 a.m., he was doing all those things to further his musical career -- writing songs, meeting with people, etc.

      Now, he has the best of all worlds. He gets to work on his music, which he uses to inspire others.

      In his job as a broadcast journalism reporter, he can advocate assignments to cover the stories of other people or programs that can inspire or touch the community.

      "I look at this as an empowering month," Cassimy said. "It's not just about the Black community. People need to put aside the negative stereotypes, and celebrate and focus on all of the positive things all ethnic groups have contributed."

      In his own case, Cassimy said several individuals had inspired him throughout the years. His mother was the driving force behind many of his accomplishments, including going to college in Chicago.

      Michael Jackson served as a musical inspiration. Cassimy heard Jackson's album "Thriller" in the second grade. Art Norman of NBC 5 news in Chicago, a local institution in the third-largest television market in the country, helped launch his television career. Norman helped launch Oprah Winfrey by providing assistance to get her program on the air on Chicago television.

      Cassimy interspersed his presentation with performances of some of the songs he has written. One honored his current girlfriend.

      He chose Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" to pay tribute to those in attendance for making freedom possible, as stated in the line from the song. ".won't forget (the) ones who died and gave that right to me."

      The audience gave him a standing ovation.

      The next observance at Fort McCoy will be from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, March 4 for Women's History Month. Elizabeth Burmaster, the Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction, will be the guest speaker.

      For more information, call the Equal Opportunity Office, which sponsored the observance, at (608) 388-3246.


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