January 13, 2010

Events will celebrate King’s life, legacy

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The life, influence and legacy of a man who changed the world is the focus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance 2010 commemoration.

This year, the usual weeklong celebration becomes a two-week tribute in honor of the late pastor, reformer and civil rights activist. Special activities begin Sunday, Jan. 17, and continue through Jan. 28.

“It is important to have the MLK Remembrance here at SIUC to insure that his legacy will be remembered. I feel that the younger generation may be losing sight of what he and others have fought for in the past. Students should attend the events to learn and remember his teachings. By extending MLK week to two weeks, it will give students more time to adjust to their new classes while allowing them to attend the planned events,” said Marissa Mayes, a junior political science major from Orland Park.

The University’s remembrance activities include guest speakers, social events, a march and rally, informational activities, a film and much more. Many of the events incorporate community involvement.

“The commemoration reminds us of what has been done, what is being done and what can be done through the transformational power of education, ideas, sacrifice and individual commitment. With Dr. King’s legacy as inspiration, it challenges us to be and to do more,” said Carl Ervin, coordinator of Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services, the organization spearheading the celebration.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “It’s a different world than where you come from.”

You can hear from Kenneth Brown, a man who was one of five children born to a young mother and father by the time they were 17 and 18. Brown was born to poverty in Chicago but his parents emphasized education and hard work and he attended SIUC while working as a bus boy and waiter. Now a professional speaker, author and life coach who was recently featured on ABC’s “Wife Swap,” he’ll speak at SIUC Jan. 26.

Also appearing the following day will be Kevin Powell, an activist and award-winning author born in New Jersey to a single mother and raised in an environment of poverty and violence. He studied at Rutgers University and has written or edited 10 books, including the newest, “Open Letters to America.” It’s a collection of essays examining American leadership, politics and social issues in this era where the U.S. has elected its first black president in Barack Obama. Powell’s writings documented the life of the late Tupac Shakur and publications including The Washington Post, Newsweek, Ebony and Rolling Stone have carried his work.

He also has been an activist working on behalf of poverty eradication, voter registration, the environment, education, hurricane relief and other issues. Through a variety of television and radio appearances, including on the “Oprah” show, he works to help end domestic violence. Meanwhile, he is involved in community development and business incubation and was a Democratic candidate for Congress in Brooklyn in 2008.

“It is important for SIUC to have an MLK Remembrance, because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a beacon of light that guides a man like myself who sits in the darkness of apathy,” said Bryant Payne, a master’s speech communication student and graduate assistant in Student Development-MPS from Chicago.

The schedule for SIUC’S Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance 2010, with all events free and open to the public unless otherwise noted, includes:

Sunday, Jan. 17

• The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 3:30 p.m. refreshments followed by 4 p.m. program, Carbondale Civic Center, 200 S. Illinois Ave. A number of community organizations are sponsoring this community celebration.

Monday, Jan. 18

• 28th Annual MLK Commemorative Breakfast, 7 a.m., Grinnell Hall on the SIUC campus. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Carbondale Branch sponsors this Carbondale tradition, a diverse celebration. Tickets are $5 each and you can get them at the door.

• SIUC Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps team sponsors Drive Up and Drop Off Donation Drive, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Carbondale Wal-Mart parking lot. Drop off donations of clothing (particularly winter garments and outer apparel for children), food and books. The drive will benefit The Women’s Center, Inc., Pregnancy Matters, Community Closet Outreach, Good Samaritan Ministries Food Pantry and Goodwill in Carbondale.

• Freedom-For-All March and Rally, 11 a.m. beginning at the Gaia House (Interfaith Center), 913 S. Illinois Ave. Students, faculty, staff and community members will participate in this march to remember the past and recognize the ongoing struggles for freedom, justice and human rights that King, Cesar Chavez, Mahatma Gandhi and others fought for. This year, for the first time, the march ends at the SIUC Student Center with a big rally.

Tuesday, Jan. 19

• “Truth Table,” 11 a.m.-2 p.m., first floor of the Student Center. Visit the Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services table to find out more about King and view a video featuring reflections from students and community members regarding the life, legacy and dream of King. Also, participate in the penny donation drive, helping in the fund drive to collect money for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial project in Washington D.C.

Thursday, Jan. 21

• Men’s Appreciation Day, all day across campus. Organizers encourage men to wear professional attire and view the exhibit “What Does It Mean to be a Man?” located near Starbucks in the Student Center. Enjoy hot chocolate and doughnuts 9-11 a.m. in the Faner Hall Breezeway. The Black Male Roundtable, Progressive Male Masculinities, Guide Right and The National Pan-Hellenic Council are sponsoring this celebration of the potential greatness of all men and the accolades King earned.

Friday, Jan. 22

• MILK Remembrance Reception, 6 p.m., John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. Randall Auxier, philosophy professor and editor of “Library of Living Philosophies” since 2001, will speak about “Nonviolence and the Dignity of Other Persons.” Oops! Entertainment will perform “The Meeting.” Dress is business casual for the event. The reception includes refreshments.

Saturday, Jan. 23

• POWWOW at the Pound, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at lower level of Grinnell Hall. It’s an evening of fun social activities including free food, board and video games, karaoke, and fellowship with peers.

Sunday, Jan. 24

• Flashback to the 1960’s, 10 a.m., Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, 400 E. Main St. There’s a strong link between religion and politics, even more pronounced in the 1960’s. This service welcomes students and community members.

Monday, Jan. 25

• Charles R. Drew Blood Drive, 2-6 p.m., Student Recreation Center Alumni Lounge. The American Red Cross partnered with Washington University School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital in St. Louis in 1999 to form the Charles Drew Community Blood Donation Campaign. The program has grown in ensuing years, as the goal is increasing the number of minority blood donors, particularly looking for donor matches for children with sickle cell disease who require regular blood transfusions. About one-fifth of patients with sickle cell anemia require regular transfusions to stave off strokes and other medical problems.

• “A Dream Deferred” by Eugene Blackmon III, senior aviation flight major, 6-8 p.m., Kaskaskia/Missouri Room at the Student Center. He’ll speak about equality and living up to the ideals of King and the civil rights movement.

Tuesday, Jan. 26-Tuesday, Feb. 2

• “The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”, special exhibit in the Student Center’s Display Case 51 South.

Tuesday, Jan. 26

• Brown Bag Lunch Speakers Series featuring Kenneth Brown, noon, Kaskaskia/Missouri Room at Student Center. Brown, a motivational speaker and SIUC alumnus, will share his inspirational story, including his favorite mantra, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.”

• Community service project, 2 p.m., Eurma C. Hayes Center, 441 E. Willow St. Registered student organizations, MLK committee members and all who want to help will be working to refurbish the center, clean resource rooms and participate in the “I Can Read” program.

Wednesday, Jan. 27

• President Barack Obama Commemorative Gala, 6 p.m., Student Center Ballrooms. It’s an evening to celebrate the significance of the historic presidential election a year ago. Kevin Powell, social critic and writer, will speak and there will also be a visual arts slide show, an exhibition of African American memorabilia, refreshments, dancing and socializing.

Thursday, Jan. 28

• “The Birth of a Nation” film (also known as “The Clansman”) and discussion, 6 p.m., Student Center video lounge. A Feb. 8, 1915, release set during the Civil War era, this silent film directed by D.W. Griffith is both controversial and influential as it includes innovative technical work while promoting white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan. Novotny Lawrence, radio and television assistant professor, will lead a discussion following the film.

“It’s important for SIUC to have an MLK Remembrance because many students have a problem finding the bravery within themselves to stand up for what is right. Usually they are afraid of what others will think or that they will be judged. Everyone needs to remember that sometimes you need to stand up with the courage to say or do what you want or feel, even if you’re alone, because it shows who you are and who you can be. One person can influence many,” said Michelle Ginsberg, a sophomore elementary education major from Chicago.

More than four decades after his death, King continues to inspire, serving as a model for many, like Devin Moran, a student from Lexington, Ky., working on his master’s in college student personnel and graduate assistant in Student Development-MPS.

“My individual measure of success is making some impact on the world…if I can come close to the success and degree Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has had and made on this world I would feel incredibly honored and blessed,” Moran said.

Sponsors of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance include Student Development- Multicultural Programs and Services, Black Resource Center and Services, Office of the Associate Chancellor (Diversity), Oops! Entertainment, Speaking and Teaching, the American Red Cross, Eurma C. Hayes Center and SIUC University Housing and Residence Life.

The King remembrance is one of the many initiatives each year from Student Development- Multicultural Programs and Services. MPS also hosts Latino Heritage Month, GLBT History Month, Native American Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, Asian American Heritage Month and a variety of other events sand activities promoting cultural competency at SIUC.

For more information about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance 2010 or Student Development, visit the office on the third floor of the Student Center, call 618/453-5714 or visit the Web site at www.stddev.siu.edu.

Kenneth Brown

Kenneth Brown - Download Photo Here

Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell - Download Photo Here