NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Feb. 14, 2008 – Congresswoman Carrie Meek, the first African-American elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction, spoke to approximately 80 business, culinary arts and hospitality students from Johnson & Wales University in honor of Black History Month. Meek was the keynote speaker at "The Black Evolution: Examining our Past, Present and Future," a student-led event held Wednesday, Feb. 13, to help educate the campus community about black history. MLK 08A former public servant, college administrator and educator, Meek remains active in the community as founder of the Carrie Meek Foundation, an organization that is committed to improving the quality of life for disadvantaged residents of South Florida. She encouraged students to understand their culture because they can’t fully appreciate who they are without knowing where they came from. "You can’t help America understand your history if you don’t stand up for freedom, justice and equality – not only for yourself, but for others," Meek said to the students, faculty and administrators in attendance. "If you stand for equality, you get upset if someone treats your neighbor wrong because you know history and how far they’ve had to come," Meek told the students. Johnson & Wales University, founded in 1914, is a nonprofit, private institution. A recognized leader in career education, we offer accredited degrees in business, hospitality, culinary arts, technology and education. With a diverse student body of more than 16,000 graduate and undergraduate students, representing all 50 states and 89 countries, JWU prepares students for personal and professional success by integrating rigorous academics and professional skills, community leadership opportunities and our unique career education model. The university is committed to urban revitalization and thoughtful historic renovation. Through active civic participation and by offering unique learning opportunities, JWU improves the quality of life in its campus communities in Providence, R.I., North Miami, Fla., Denver, Colo., and Charlotte, N.C. For more information visit www.jwu.edu.