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MLK event aims to bring community together

In memory of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ohio University Southern will host a community discussion of “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” on the anniversary of the Civil Rights leader’s death.

The event will be in-person at 6 p.m., Monday, April 4 in the Mains Rotunda. Light refreshments will be served.

Robert Pleasant, director of student services at OHIO Southern, said the event is not a lecture, rather a conversation to let people share their thoughts.

“We’ve come a long way as a country, but when you read that letter, some of the things are still happening today,” he said. “We have to be willing to have these types of open, honest, respectful conversations. When you read the letter you get a glimpse of the past, but also the present. We still have some work to do.”

During the event, participants will discuss their personal thoughts on the letter in small groups with trained facilitators.

The Rev. Sallie Schisler, vicar at Christ Episcopal Church and part of the organizing effort, said she sees this event as an opportunity to have an educational experience about racial injustice.

 “Whether we think racism is a problem in our community or not, we should be talking about it,” she said. “And the university is the perfect place for those kinds of conversations.”

Registration is required. Upon registration, participants will receive a copy of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” via email to read and reflect on before the event.

Dr. Teresa McKenzie, OHIO Southern’s accessibility and veterans services coordinator, said she hopes participants will find common ground.

“Dr. King once said, ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.’ The common read of Dr. King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ will provide us an opportunity to create a tangible and real way for us meet, have conversations, and find those common threads,” she said. “Finding those threads, those common threads, helps to create a connection that helps to break down those walls that divide us.”

For more information about the event contact Pleasant at pleasanr@ohio.edu, McKenzie at mckenzt1@ohio.edu or Schisler at scschisler@aol.com.