King Jr. Celebration
Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, activist, social critic and one of the nationâ€™s most notable African-American leaders, was the keynote speaker at Kent State Universityâ€™s 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Kent Student Center. The theme for this yearâ€™s event was â€œEmpowering the Individual, Strengthening the Community,â€ and the celebration was free and open to the public.
Hill is an associate professor of English education and anthropology at Columbia University, and is an award-winning newspaper columnist and blogger. He is known for his thoughtful perspectives on everything from sexuality to education and religion. Hillâ€™s respected commentary has been featured on NPR, in The Washington Post, Essence
and The New York Times
, as well as on Fox News where he is a regular contributor.
â€œOur program this year not only celebrates the life of Dr. King, but also reflects the ideals that he stood for in reference to civil rights and all people being treated the same,â€ said Dr. Geraldine Hayes-Nelson
, executive director of Kent Stateâ€™s Diversity Programming and Community Outreach.
A cultural celebration of music, word and dance took place on Thursday, Jan. 26
, from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Kiva. The celebration continued at 2:10 p.m. with a lecture by Hill at the Kent Student Center Ballroom and the Diversity Trailblazer Awards presentation that recognized contributions to the promotion of diversity. Signing of Hillâ€™s book, â€œBeats, Rhymes and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity,â€ and reception will follow at 4 p.m. on the Ballroom balcony. The book is now available for purchase at the Kent State University Bookstore.
This year, Kent State will begin with a week of pre-celebratory events, starting Tuesday, Jan. 17, with screenings of documentaries and films about King and the civil rights era, and other diversity-related events leading up to the actual campus-wide celebration on Jan. 26.
Kent State also has added an international component to the annual celebration, featuring for the first time a Festival of Nations
on Friday, Jan. 20, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Ballroom. The event will educate and celebrate the diversity of Kent State students and showcase a variety of cultural activities from around the world.
â€œDr. Kingâ€™s ideals are in line with Kent Stateâ€™s â€˜you belong hereâ€™ mantra, which is all about creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome, valued and respected,â€ Hayes-Nelson said. â€œHis impact was felt globally, and that is why we feel it is important to involve our international students in our programming this year.â€
Registration tables will be available at the Kent Student Center on Jan. 23, 24 and 25
from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., for faculty, staff and students interested in signing up for Kent Stateâ€™s â€œ100 Commitmentsâ€ initiative that provides learning experiences about diversity and inclusion.
For more information about Kent Stateâ€™s 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, visit www.kent.edu/diversity/events/events.cfm
or call 330-672-8563.
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