MLK Week: A Life and a Legacy

Ursinus College will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement during a week of inquiry, reflection and service Jan. 15 to 22.

The college’s inaugural MLK Week will include a series of talks by faculty members, discussions and film screenings, in addition to the prominently-displayed words of African American artists, writers, activists and performers all over campus.

It will culminate with the official launch of the Institute for Inclusion and Equity (IIE) in Wismer Center on Jan. 22.

On Jan. 15, a team of 100 Ursinus students will be among the 150,000 volunteers participating in service activities throughout Philadelphia. The Ursinus contingent will be volunteering at City Year Philadelphia’s MLK Day of Service at Frankford High School and Global Citizen’s MLK Day of Service at Awbury Arboretum in Germantown, Pa. The city of Philadelphia is seeking to set a record for total number of volunteers during the day of service.

Student groups volunteering include Bonner leaders, resident advisors, UC ambassadors, peer advocates, campus safety dispatchers and members of the Ursinus EMS team. After service, the students will go into center city Philadelphia to visit the African American History Museum and the National Museum of Jewish American History.

On Jan. 17 from noon to 4 p.m. in the IIE in Lower Wismer, the campus community is invited to participate in a “read-in” and read, listen and reflect on the works of King and James Baldwin. Throughout the day, screens all over campus will display Freedom’s Ring, a project of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University in collaboration with Beacon Press’s King Legacy Series.

Beginning at 4 p.m., student and faculty will participate in five-to-seven-minute “lightning talks” highlighting inclusive teaching and research. Speakers include: Kelly Sorensen, an associate professor of philosophy and religion and associate dean of the college; Roger Florka, an associate professor of philosophy; and Angela Bey ’19.

On Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. in the IIE, lighting talks continue with Vanessa Volpe, an assistant professor of psychology and director of the HEAL Lab; Bryanna Jones ’19; and Mark Schneider, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college.

A screening of the film Selma will occur at 7 p.m. in the IIE.

On Jan. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the IIE, members of the campus community are invited to a brainstorming session to develop ideas for IIE programming at Ursinus.

Lightning talks continue at 2 p.m. with Patricia Lott, an assistant professor of African American and Africana studies, who will read King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail; Holly Hubbs, a professor of music, and Karen Clemente, a professor of dance; Alice Leppert, an assistant professor of media and communication studies; and at 3 p.m., a session on teaching diversity-related texts in the Common Intellectual Experience coordinated by the Teaching and Learning Institute.

At 4 p.m. in the Blackbox Studio Theater, Hubbs, Schneider and student Sam Pope will lead Songs of Protest, Songs of Unity, Songs of the MLK Era.

On Jan. 22 at 4 p.m., the campus community is invited to celebrate the official launch of the Institute for Inclusion and Equity in Lower Wismer. The IIE coordinates dialogue, programming and activities around issues of equity, diversity and social justice on campus and beyond. CIE events including reading and performances will follow at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Lenfest Theater in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center. –By Ed Moorhouse