WMU News

WMU celebrates King holiday with series of events

Jan. 6, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this month with a slate of campus events.

The headline event in honor of King will be the 2003 MLK Celebration, a communitywide observance to be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, in Miller Auditorium [related story]. Civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams will give the keynote address at that event, a first-time partnership between the University and the Northside Ministerial Alliance.

With the theme "Moving the Dream into the Community: Civil Rights to Social Justice," this year's WMU observance features several other major events, including the following.

"Moving Forward: Turning the Dream into Reality" is a three-part series. Part one is a performance and discussion of "The Meeting," a one-act play that depicts a fictitious dialogue between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. It is set for 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Room 157 of the Bernhard Center. Part two is a showing and discussion of the film "The Medgar Evers Story," an overview of the life and work of Medgar Evers, slain civil rights leader and husband of 2003 MLK Celebration speaker Myrlie Evers-Williams. It is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, in the Henry Hall Lounge. Part three is a Birthday Celebration in honor of King designed to inspire participants to move the lessons of social justice into the community. The celebration is set for 1:30 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, in the Division of Multicultural Affairs Multicultural Room in Ellsworth Hall.

MLK Discovery Day, a free fair for children in kindergarten through 8th grade will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at the indoor tennis courts in the Student Recreation Center. A permission slip signed by a parent or guardian is required for each participating child.

"MLK on War and Peace," a presentation and group discussion, focuses on King's strong statements against the war in Vietnam, relating his position to the current threat of U.S. attacks against Iraq. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 in Room 159 of the Bernhard Center.

"School Names as Cultural Arenas: Naming U.S. Public Schools after Martin Luther King Jr." is the title of a lecture by Dr. Derek Alerman of East Carolina University that will address the geographic patterns and cultural struggles related to the naming of schools and streets after King. It is set for 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Room 242 of the Bernhard Center.

"Rage is Not a 1-Day Thing" is a one-woman documentary theatre performance that highlights the age, race, gender and class issues that complicate our understanding of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The performance by Awele Makeba is set for 2 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

Numerous other events are scheduled, including activities in the campus residence halls. All activities are free and open to the public. A full schedule is attached and also is available online at <www.wmich.edu/mlkday> or by calling (269) 387-8423.

WMU's observance of King's birthday is being coordinated by the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee. Deveta Gardner, career advisor in the University's Career and Student Employment Services, is chairperson of the committee, which includes students, faculty and staff.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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