January 12, 2011

Variety of activities will honor King’s life, legacy

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An assortment of special activities at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will celebrate the life and legacy of 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr.

Celebrations, a rally, guest speakers, performances, community service activities and much more will honor King Jan. 16-29. The special events meld students, faculty, staff and community members to honor King’s dream and continue to work for positive change.

“The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance at SIUC is a tremendous opportunity to raise consciousness, get involved, inspire action and add to the cultural, moral and intellectual growth and development of the members of the SIUC community. There is definitely something for everyone -- don’t miss it!” said Carl Ervin, coordinator of Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services.

“His Dream, Our Hope, a New Reality” is the theme of this year’s celebration.

The schedule for the SIUC Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance 2011, with all events free and open to the public unless otherwise specified, includes:

Sunday, Jan. 16

• Southern Illinois Unity Celebration -- The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 4 p.m., Carbondale Civic Center, 2001 S. Illinois Ave. Various community organizations are sponsoring this time of celebration honoring King and his legacy.

Monday, Jan. 17

• 29th Annual NAACP Martin Luther King Commemorative Breakfast, 7 a.m. at Grinnell Hall. The program begins at 9 a.m. for this diverse traditional Carbondale gathering sponsored by the Carbondale branch of the NAACP. The theme of this year’s event is “Martin Luther King Jr. -- One Dream, One Nation.” Tickets are $5 each. For more information call 618/527-2863.

• Freedom-For-All March and Rally, 10:30 a.m. beginning at the Gaia House/Interfaith Center and ending at the SIUC Student Center’s Corker Lounge with a rally. Join students, faculty, staff and community members in a march remembering the legacies of King as well as Cesar Chavez, Harvey Milk, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and others while also noting the continuing struggles to secure equity, freedom, justice and human rights for everyone. Marilyn James, community advocate and friend of the King family in Atlanta, will be the featured speaker at the rally.

• Second Annual AmeriCorps and City of Carbondale Neighborhood Beautification Project, 2 p.m., parking lot of Eurma C. Hayes Center. This is a chance to get involved and spread awareness of the city’s expanded recycling program by picking up refuse and distributing recycling bins.

Tuesday, Jan. 18

• “Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk,” all day long on the University campus people will honor the image, vision and legacy of King by wearing business attire to send the message of positive image, respect and dignity.

Wednesday, Jan. 19

• A Community of One: Welcome Back Bash, 8-10 p.m., Grinnell Hall lower level. It’s an evening of social networking, community building, free food, Karaoke, games of all sorts and other activities.

Thursday, Jan. 20

• Martin Luther King Remembrance Reception featuring Vershawn Young, 7 p.m., John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. Vershawn Ashanti Young, associate professor of writing, rhetoric and digital media at the University of Kentucky, discusses today’s critical issues in a “Did he really say that?” genre he calls performance-rhetoric. It’s a blend of African American communication and literature coupled with black performance studies to raise consciousness and generate thought.

A Chicago native, Young earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communication at SIUE and also holds a master’s in performance studies from Northern Illinois University and a doctorate in English with specialization in rhetoric and composition from the University of Illinois Chicago. He writes and teaches about the African American experience in the years since Jim Crow, focusing on class, sexuality, urban education and politics. He’s authored “Your Average Nigga: Performing Race, Literacy and Masculinity” and other works and presents stage performances depicting black issues. The reception offers refreshments.

Friday, Jan. 21

• “Why Do I Serve?” noon-1 p.m., Student Center’s Kaskaskia/Missouri Room. Service was an integral part of King’s mission and life. Bring your lunch and learn more about service opportunities in the Carbondale area and why others serve.

Sunday, Jan. 23

• “Lift Every Voice and Sing: 1960’s Flashback!” 5:30-7 p.m., Student Center video lounge. Here’s your chance to flash back to the 1960s via a live inspirational, moving, informative performance by students and community members. Experience the era when faith, politics and music created a national transformation.

Monday, Jan. 24

• Dr. Charles R. Drew Blood Drive, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Student Center. Founded in 1999 in partnership with the American Red Cross, the Charles Drew Community Blood Donation Campaign seeks to increase minority blood donations and identify donor matches for children with sickle cell anemia, as they need regular blood transfusions. The disease can result in stroke and other medical issues and the therapy often includes regular blood transfusions. An African American, Drew was instrumental in developing blood banks during World War II and served as the first medical director of the Red Cross National Blood Donor Service, collecting blood donations for the U.S. military.

• Voter registration drive, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Student Center. Securing voting rights and equality were bedrocks of the civil rights movement and this is your chance to register so you can vote.

Tuesday, Jan. 25

• Charles R. Drew Blood Drive, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Student Center.

Wednesday, Jan. 26

• “(WHOA!) MAN UP!” with Black Male Roundtable, 5-7 p.m., Grinnell Hall, lower level. This discussion explores King’s legacy and what people today are doing to build a positive “content of character.” The Black Male Roundtable, Black Women’s Task Force, Inter-Fraternity Council and numerous other student organizations will discuss progress, hopes, and ways people can be part of the change.

Thursday, Jan. 27

• Reflecting Back, Looking Forward -- Spoken Word Poetry Night, 7 p.m., Student Center’s Big Muddy Room. University students will offer their talents to speak the truths of the past, present and future with regard to the principles and goals King strived for.

Saturday, Jan. 29

• “I choose to serve…” at the Newman Center, 715 S. Washington St. Come make cards for military troops from 1 to 4 p.m. and then enjoy a spaghetti dinner 4-6 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $5 each.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance is one of the numerous annual initiatives from SIUC’s Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services. Others commemorations and events hosted to promote cultural competency at the University include Latino Heritage Month, GLBT History Month, Native American Heritage Month, Women’s History Month and Asian American Heritage Month.

Sponsors of MLK Remembrance 2011 include Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services, Black Male Roundtable, Black Women’s Task Force, Underground Arts, Saluki Volunteer Corps, SIUC Chapter of NAACP, American Red Cross, Gaia House/Interfaith Center, NAACP Carbondale branch, Oops! Entertainment and the Office of the Associate Chancellor for Institutional Diversity.

For more information about any of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance events at SIUC, contact Student Development located on the third floor of the Student Center by telephone at 618/453-5714 or visit the website at http://siuc.orgsync.com/.