Kent State Marks 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 23
Kent State University will hold its 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 2 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. The celebratory event, which is free and open to the public, is themed “Honor the Dream.” It will feature a variety of activities, including the presentation of the 2014 Diversity Trailblazer Award, a special “Honor the Dream” segment and student-led film debut.
Prior to the event and new this year, children from Kent State’s Child Development Center will ride the PARTA (Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority) bus to the University Library where they will participate in readings and signing of a scroll with messages that honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
Also new this year is a commemorative silent march immediately following the celebratory event. The march will proceed from the “K” on Risman Plaza to Ritchie Hall and will conclude with brief remarks, refreshments and an opportunity for the public to sign the “How I Will Honor the Dream” scroll.
“We are broadening participation this year to include the littlest members of our Kent State community, as well as other members of our university and local communities,” said Alfreda Brown, Kent State’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. “This year, we are focused on community service, commemorative activities and events that explore a variety of civil rights issues and topics to help our university community to continue to honor, live and share the dream.”
Kent State’s Department of Residence Services kicks off this year’s commemorative events on Jan. 16 from 10-11:30 a.m., in Twin Towers, Studio A, with a YouTube live stream of “Your Identity, Your Leadership. OUR COMMUNITY,” presented by David E. Jones and Kelvin J. Harris, of the Harris Jones Consulting Group. Attendees are urged to arrive 10 minutes beforehand.
Returning from last year, “Just 4 A Day,” a day of service on Jan. 20 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., allows members of the Kent State community to participate in community service to a variety of local nonprofit organizations. Register for this event by Jan. 17. Children from the Child Development Center also will participate in a Day of Service at the Campus Kitchen at Kent State on Jan. 23, helping with meal preparation for local families in need.
The commemorative events continue on Jan. 22 from 8-9 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Kiva with a viewing of “Chasing Rainbows,” a film that explores issues surrounding gay marriage and civil unions. On Jan. 27 from 4:30-6 p.m. at the FirstEnergy Auditorium in Franklin Hall, Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication will host the opening reception of "They Led the Way," an exhibition that tells the stories of the eight students who desegregated Leon County, Fla., public schools 50 years ago. “White Washing in the Queer Community,” an event sponsored by Kent State’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center, will take place at the Carriage House on Jan. 28 from 5-6:30 p.m.
Additional events in the Kent Student Center include a discussion on Jan. 29 about “Women and the Civil Rights Movement” at the Student Multicultural Center lounge. Also on Jan. 29, a “Game of Life” an interactive inequality simulation will take place from 4:30-6 p.m. in Room 310B. The commemorative events will end with a “Diversity Round Table” on Jan. 30 from 7-8 p.m. in the Kiva.
For more information about Kent State’s 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, including a calendar of events, visit www.kent.edu/diversity/mlk-resources.cfm or contact the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Leadership at 330-672-2569.
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A Kent State student sings “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during the opening of Kent State’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration last year.