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R. L'Heureux Lewis

Brunch keynote speaker R. L'Heureux Lewis

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University to celebrate MLK with week of activities

Celebration includes silent march, discussions and arts


Ohio University will honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the second consecutive year with a weeklong celebration, Jan. 17-21.

The celebration, which is coordinated by the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee, carries the theme, "Build today for a better tomorrow." This reflects that of Ohio's statewide MLK Holiday Commission.

"Reflecting on the importance of Dr. King's work can provide guidance for how to deal with difficult issues presently facing our society," said Brian Bridges, Ohio University vice provost for diversity, access and equity. "Increasing incivility and intolerance, turning a blind eye to the plight of our fellow citizens and escalating economic inequality and injustice are issues Dr. King would most certainly be concerned about, making this year's theme of 'build today for a better tomorrow' all the more apropos."

Now in its second year, the MLK Celebration Committee's primary goal is to coordinate university-sponsored events that address important issues such as social justice and racial equality during the holiday celebration. This year, the committee is co-chaired by David Horton Jr., assistant professor of higher education and student affairs, and Alicia Boards, assistant director of multicultural programs in the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

"Having a weeklong celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. allows students to take the time and evaluate the progress that has been made and to reflect upon the moments that were lived by so many American," Boards said. "This gives our students an opportunity to learn and gain a stronger appreciation of Dr. King's work and the civil rights movement."

This year's events include:

Monday, Jan. 17: Silent March and MLK Celebratory Brunch. The silent march will begin at 10 a.m. at Ohio University's Galbreath Chapel and end at the Baker University Center.

  • Brunch tickets are $6 for students, $8 for non-students and $60 for a table of eight and can be purchased in the Multicultural Center in the Baker University Center. The brunch will begin at 11 a.m. at Baker University Center Ballroom and will feature keynote speaker R. L'Heureux Lewis, assistant professor of sociology, black studies and public policy at City College of the City University of New York. His research areas are educational inequality, the role of race in contemporary society, and mental health and well-being. His talk is titled "Myanmar, Martin Luther King and Hip Hop." Winners of the 2011 MLK Essay Contest will be announced at the brunch. A brief video featuring faculty, staff, students and community members talking about MLK's leadership and legacy also will be shown.

  • The brunch is sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. in conjunction with several other organizations, including: Student Activities Commission; Black Student Cultural Programming Board; Campus Involvement Center; Multicultural Center; Office of Diversity; Access and Equity; Ohio University M.L.K. Planning Committee; and University Program Council. For more information, contact Jonathan McElderry at 740-593-4027 or jm200809@ohio.edu.

Tuesday, Jan. 18: "Responding to Injustice: The Legacy of Dr. King" is a panel discussion that will take place at 6 p.m. in Baker University Center Ballroom. Late local peace activist Art Gish will be honored during the event.

  • The free event will address poverty, prejudice, bullying and other forms of injustice. Panelists include: local human rights activist Peggy Gish; Melissa Wales, United Campus Ministry; Mickey Hart, director of the university's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center; Monica Jones, director of diversity for Regional Campuses; Jack Frech, director, Athens County Job and Family Services; and Reggie Robinson, community services manager, Health Recovery Services.

Wednesday, Jan. 19: Students Teaching about Racism in Society (S.T.A.R.S.) will facilitate "It Takes a Village" from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the Baker University Center Multipurpose Room. The free 1st-6th grade interactive learning workshop will teach children about acceptance, equality and justice and educate students about Martin Luther King's lifetime accomplishments.

Wednesday, Jan. 19: The Art Gish Lecture Series will take place 1-4 p.m. in the Baker University Center Multicultural Center.

  • The event, which was created to honor late local peace activist Art Gish, will feature Ohio University scholars from diverse disciplines discussing the importance of activism inside and outside of the university. Panelists include Peter Mather, assistant professor of higher education and student affairs; Michele Morrone, director of environmental studies; Jennifer Chung, visiting professor of cultural studies in education; researcher Kevin Lam; and Greg Kremer, chair and associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Wednesday, Jan. 19: The "Celebration of the Arts – In Remembrance of Dr. MLK" will take place in the Baker University Center Theatre from 6-8 p.m. The free event will include performances from female choir Calliope, ABCD, short readings and theatrical performances from students.

Friday, Jan. 21: The "Exile in Poverty" art gallery reception is 5-7 p.m. in the Baker University Center Multicultural Center Art Gallery. The exhibit will feature the paintings of Senegalese artist Abdala Faye, who had his first art showing in Paris at the age of 12. Faye also will perform a drumming session at 4 p.m. in the gallery.