Week for remembrance for Martin Luther King Jr.



Wren Murphy, Diversity and Inclusion Reporter

Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations are happening all week with a speaker, a roundtable, community service and a film to help educate students about King’s philosophy and the university’s diversity.

The Black Student Alliance, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Weekend Stuff and the Global Studies Club are sponsoring the events. Naomi Wynn, a sophomore studio arts major, hopes to see lots of people attend the events.

“It [Martin Luther King Jr. Day] continues to bring awareness to black Americans’ struggles,” said Wynn, who is also the secretary and treasurer of the Black Student Alliance. “I’ve seen many people try to sugarcoat everything when (the Civil Rights Movement) was just sixty years ago … MLK helped that process and we should raise awareness.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. Week will kick off with a remembrance ceremony 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22 in the Lewis and Clark Room in the Student Union. It will feature Chike Akua, author of the book “A Treasure Within.”

Akua will speak about the Black Lives Matter movement and how King’s philosophy does or does not align with its ideas. The roundtable will follow up on Akua’s speech and serve King’s favorite meal at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 23 in the Pheasant Crest Room in the Student Union.

“I just want to see who comes, who’s curious, who has to come for class, and just to hear people’s thoughts,” Wynn said. “I want to hear opinions on the movement (Black Lives Matter) up in the Midwest,” Wynn said.

The Black Student Alliance and the Latin American Student Association will volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club on 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.

The week will wrap up with a screening of “I Am Not Your Negro” at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 in the Union Market.

The 2016 film is based on an unfinished manuscript of James Baldwin, a black activist and author, and is directed by Raoul Peck, a Haitian filmmaker and political activist. The movie, a documentary, explores race relations in the United States and the activism of civil rights leaders like King and Malcolm X. “I am Not Your Negro” received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2017 Academy Awards.

Alexis Hundley, a freshman pre-nursing major, thinks the Black Student Alliance and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Week events are a welcoming environment to learn about diversity.

“My favorite part is how cool everyone is,” Hundley said. “It’s just a really great place to be yourself and everyone is so supportive.

Cheyanne Roth, a junior global studies major, hopes people come whether it is a class requirement or not.

“It’s just good to have diversity education and be aware of the changes that have been made by our institution,” said Roth, who is the communications chair of the Global Studies Club.

The Black Student Alliance and the Office of Multicultural Affairs will not be done after Martin Luther King, Jr. Week. Next month is February, Black History Month, and the groups will put on events like the BSA Comedy Show and the BSA Step Show and will screen several films.