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Jim Lucas has spoken at more than 100 events

Photo courtesy of: Jim Lucas

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Jim Lucas at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.

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Martin Luther King Jr. celebration to feature march, brunch, arts showcase, talks

Brunch speaker to embody Martin Luther King Jr.


The 2015 Ohio University Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will carry the theme, "Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." with much of the focus surrounding King's service and legacy.

The annual celebration is coordinated by the University's MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee and this year's schedule features a couple of new events. In addition to the annual Faith Leaders Breakfast, Silent March and Brunch, Creative Arts as Activism event and Day of Service, the week will include a discussion about mass imprisonment and a teach-in on racism.

These are the scheduled events:

Thursday, Jan. 15

Faith Leaders Breakfast
Ohio University Inn ● 9-11 a.m.

The MLK Jr. Celebration officially begins on Thursday, Jan. 15 with the annual Faith Leaders Breakfast for local spiritual leaders. The invite only event will feature a talk by Majed Khader, head of the Muslim Association of Huntington, W.Va., and associate university librarian/director of the Morrow Library at Marshall University. Faith leaders who wish to attend the free breakfast should contact the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at 740-593- 2431. This event is sponsored by the MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee.

Monday, Jan. 19

Silent March
Galbreath Chapel ● 10:30 a.m.

The Silent March will begin at 10:30 a.m. in front of Galbreath Chapel and end at the fourth-floor entrance of Baker University Center. Everyone is invited to participate. This event is sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

MLK Jr. Celebratory Brunch
Baker University Center Ballroom ● 11 a.m.

Professional actor and speaker Jim Lucas will deliver the brunch's keynote speech and theatrical performance. The Louisiana native has spoken and performed at more than 100 colleges and universities. Among his acting credits is portraying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the dramatic play, "The Meeting," which is about an imaginary meeting between King and Malcolm X.

Lucas, an expert on the teachings of King, has a strong physical resemblance to the slain civil rights leader. He has received acclaim for his dramatic recitations and interpretive readings of King's speeches. He is an advocate of King's philosophy of non-violent civil action to effect social change.

The brunch will be held in the Baker University Center Ballroom at 11 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Ohio University Multicultural Center located at 205 Baker University Center or by calling the office at 740-593-4027. This event is sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Ticket prices are:

● $12 Students
● $15 General
● $80 Student table
● $110 General table

These are the MLK Planning Committee's other scheduled events:

Wednesday, Jan. 21

Creative Arts as Activism – Social Justice-Themed Open Mic Night
Casa Nueva ● 6-8 p.m.

This arts showcase will allow faculty, staff, students and community members to creatively express their depictions of social justice issues. Poets, musicians, dancers and other artists are scheduled to perform social justice-themed work. Anyone interested in performing should e-mail event co-coordinator Ebony Porter at portere@ohio.edu. The event is free and open to the public. This event is sponsored by the MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee.

Thursday, Jan. 22

Social Justice Lecture – Mass Imprisonment
Baker University Center Ballroom ● 5-7 p.m.

Sheila Bedi, clinical associate professor of law at the Northwestern University School of Law, will discuss mass imprisonment in the U.S. during her talk titled, "Tearing Down theWalls: The Urgent Human Rights Crisis in U.S. Prisons and the Drive to End Mass Incarceration."

Bedi is an expert in civil rights and civil litigation and is a former deputy legal director at the Southern Poverty Law Center. She also has served as an executive director at the Justice Policy Institute and a civil rights staff attorney at the Georgetown University Law Center. This event is sponsored by the Ohio University Center for Law, Justice and Culture; School of Communication Studies; Multicultural Center; Black Student Cultural Programming Board; and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Friday, Jan. 23

MLK and Strategies for Social Change: Then and Now
Baker University Center Front Room ● 1-3 p.m.

This teach-in will be an open discussion on racism and other civil rights injustices in America. Some of the discussions will focus on how racism may have played a part in recent incidents of police violence toward African-Americans and other people from underrepresented groups.

Among the faculty members scheduled to participate include Associate Professor of Law in African American Studies Patricia Gunn and Professor Emerita of African American Studies Francine Childs.

Gunn came to Ohio University in 1989 after serving in the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Her research interests are international, constitutional and health care law.

During her more than 35 years at Ohio University, Childs served as the department's curriculum chair (1974–1996), director of summer programs (1975–1978) and chairperson (1984–1989). She has a diversity leadership award named after her that annually rewards a student who promotes the principles of social justice, leadership, cultural diversity and service to the campus and/or region.

Melissa Wales, executive director of United Campus Ministry, will also participate. She handles the administrative duties, staff supervision, development, programming and outreach activities at UCM. She also teaches part time in the Ohio University Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

Students scheduled to participate include John Brown VI and Ryant Taylor. This event is sponsored by the MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee.

Saturday, Jan. 24

MLK Jr. Day of Service
Various Location/11 a.m.-3 p.m.

The MLK Jr. Day of Service is an opportunity for campus and community participants to volunteer in service projects throughout Athens County. Service projects include: United Campus Ministry Saturday Lunch, Community Food Initiatives, The Gathering Place, Multicultural Genealogical Society, ReUse Industries and School Supply Drive. Free transportation will be provided.

The School Supply Drive will benefit Trimble Elementary School and the last day to donate is Jan. 30. Drop off boxes have been established all over the Athens Campus. A few of the items requested for donation include: dry erasers, crayons, backpacks, tissues, ink pens, notebooks, binders, headphones/ear buds and notebook paper. This event is sponsored by the MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee.

To volunteer or for more information, contact Barb Harrison in the Campus Involvement Center at 740-593-4098 or visit http://www.ohio.edu/involvement/communityservice/.

For more information about the 2015 MLK Jr. Celebration, visit the Diversity and Inclusion website at www.ohio.edu/diversity. Also tweet at #OUMLKWEEK.

Members of the MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee visited WOUB radio on Jan. 14 to preview the events. Visit http://woub.org/2015/01/14/ohio-university-celebrates-mlk-jr-variety-events to listen.