Students remember MLK through acts of service


Forty-eight years have passed since Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and his memory and efforts to bring equality in America continue to be remembered.

The Black Student Alliance is hosting a week of celebration and remembrance for Martin Luther King Jr. from Tuesday, Jan. 19 to Jan. 22.

“We’ll have a Martin Luther King remembrance day and it’ll be strengthening our community through service because MLK did a lot of service for the black community,” said Semehar Ghebrekidan, senior global studies major and BSA president.

The events will begin with a remembrance ceremony. According to Kas Williams, adviser for African American programs, the ceremony will consist of honoring individuals who have died throughout the year related to issues of race.

“We want to remember them in a positive light. We don’t want to discuss what happened. We just say this person was a person and they had a voice,” Williams said. “[Not] to talk about what happened, but to show them as they were as human beings.”

Each year the remembrance ceremony has a theme. Last year’s ceremony focused on nonviolence and promoted #BlackLivesMatter. This year, the focus will be on service and improving the community.

“We want to remember his life and his legacy because some people don’t really know about him,” Ghebrekidan said. “It’s good to remember those people that helped to pave the way for us to live the way we do today and it’s also a good thing to remember the people who sacrificed for us.”

The service projects will be commemorative service, Ghebrekidan said, and students will also present about the service they provided in their communities.

Other events during the remembrance week include a community service project at the Boys and Girls Club of Brookings, a teach-in session regarding Ferguson and film-showing of “Selma.”

“[The Martin Luther King Jr.] events, definitely much like the Native American Day event we had, is to advance an awareness of the past and how it very much informs our present and our future,” said Charlotte Davidson, the special assistant to the president for diversity and Native American affairs. “These issues for sure have relevancy to our campus—to higher education context.”

 During the week of Martin Luther King Day, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community will be hosting events: Breaking the Silence: the Pervasiveness of Oppression, Teaching as an Act of Love: Strategies and Practices and Politics of Research and Scholarship: Seminar for Women faculty.

 “We can’t stop what he did. We have to keep continuing what he did,” Ghebrekidan said. “Progressing to see if we can be a better society, a better nation all together.”