Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Week

2014 0bservance week

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Week Planning Committee is pleased to announce its line-up of events for the 2014 celebration. Every year’s observance has its own unique character and this year, we are remembering the loss of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago and the principles of equal opportunity and social justice for which he stood. We are cognizant of the crippling grid-lock in our nation’s capital, the widest gap between the rich and poor since 1970, and the lapse of key provisions in the Voting Rights Act meant to protect access to the ballot for people of color. With all of this in mind and hope undaunted, the 2014 theme is, "The Dream is Still Our Beacon."

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Our celebration will begin with two events sponsored by the Beach Museum of Art. The first one will take place on Monday, January 20 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and will feature the creation of a mural entitled, “Stories of Freedom.” The second event will take place on Saturday, January 25 at 1:00 p.m. and will feature the songs of the Civil Rights Movement in the film, “Soundtrack for a Revolution.” Come to the Beach Museum for these enjoyable programs of art and music. These programs are perfect for families and inter-generational bonding. These programs are free and open to the public.

Our celebration will continue on Monday, January 27 with the MLK Diversity Tea and Film Premier on the Salina Campus. The film which will be shown publicly for the first time will be, “A Long Road: Black History at K-State” created by Dr. Tonnie Martinez of our College of Education and Dr. Albert Bimper, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Colorado State University. This is a very powerful film featuring five iconic African Americans at Kansas State University. Their stories, spanning a period of 50+ years, are very educational, very touching, and very inspirational. The program begins at 2:30 p.m. on the Salina campus.

On Tuesday, January 28, the College of Agriculture will sponsor its 10th Annual Diversity Student Leaders Program at 1:30 p.m. in the Cottonwood Room of the K-State Student Union. The speaker will be Mr. Eric Banks, the first African American to be named State of Kansas Conservationist. Mr. Banks will tell his story and share the principles which have guided his life’s journey. We are so grateful to the College of Agriculture for this long-standing program targeting student leaders.

At 3:30 p.m. on the same day, the Commerce Bank Awards Reception will be held in the Alumni Center. This year's awardees are Marcus Bragg, senior in management information systems and Mrs. LaVerne Bitsie-Baldwin, Director of the Multicultural Engineering Program in the College of Engineering. We really encourage the entire campus community to attend this reception to honor these individuals who have done so much to advance K-State diversity, to contribute to the success of historically under-represented students, and to promote inclusive excellence. We are grateful to Tom Giller and Commerce Bank for their support of these awards for 36 years.

On Wednesday, January 29, the College of Business Administration will host its 15th Annual Diversity Lecture featuring Ms. Chantal Veevaete, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Phillips 66. Ms. Veevaete will be speaking at 2:30 p.m. in Forum Hall. She will be giving us an international perspective on the work of Dr. King. We are very pleased to have this Phillips 66 representative on our campus, and we highly commend the College of Business Administration for 15 years of outstanding diversity lectures.

Also on Wednesday, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will hold its annual MLK Memorial Program and Candlelight Vigil followed by a hot chocolate social sponsored by the School of Leadership Studies. The Alpha’s Candlelight Vigil is the oldest MLK observance program at K-State. It is always very inspirational and moving, as we re-dedicate ourselves to principles which under-gird the King dream.

At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 30, the MLK Fellowship Luncheon will feature the Manhattan premier of the film, “A Long Road: Black History at K-State.” Dr. Albert Bimper is returning from Colorado State University to be part of this premier, both Dean Mercer and Dean Emeritus Dr. Michael Holen will give comments, and the five people featured in the film - Dr. Charles Rankin, Veryl Switzer, Dr. Juanita McGowan, Dr. Kathy Greene, and Dr. David Griffin, Sr. – are all expected to be in attendance. The program will also feature the Nicodemus Choir and an inter-generational commemoration ceremony. This luncheon is a celebration of our own iconic figures who represent over 150 years of advancing diversity at Kansas State University. Also at the luncheon, attendees will be able to view the outstanding panels of the King Memorial on the National Mall created by UPC and Media Relations. This is a not-to-be-missed program.

At 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 30, the College of Architecture, Planning and Design will host its 6th Annual Diversity Lecture in the Little Theatre. The speaker will be Jay Siebenmorgen, Design Principal with NBBJ Design. Mr. Siebenmorgen who is Jewish, will describe what it was like for him and his associates to design an Islamic memorial. This will be an interesting presentation on how cultural knowledge and competence can help one to be versatile and successful in one’s professional life. We appreciate the commitment to diversity shown by the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design, as evidenced by these lectures designed to broaden the exposure of students, faculty, and staff to issues of diversity within the profession.

The week’s observance concludes on Friday, January 31, with the Laying of the Wreaths Ceremony at the MLK Bust at 2:00 p.m. We are grateful to the President, the Provost, the College of Engineering, K-State General Counsel, Student Life, Black Student Union, and the Hispanic American Leadership Organization for their wreath donations. We are also very pleased that Dr. Marcelo Sabates, Associate Provost for International Programs, will deliver the comments at the ceremony. The Laying of the Wreaths Ceremony is always a very beautiful event.

As you can imagine, many people have worked very hard to bring this line-up of King celebrations to the K-State campuses in Salina and Manhattan. The Planning Committee is especially grateful to all the loyal supporters of the observance week activities, to all those providing wreaths, to our colleagues at Phillips 66, to Drs. Tonnie Martinez and Albert Bimper, for creating the amazing video, “A Long Road,” to the colleges for bringing such outstanding speakers to our campus, and to the Beach Museum for kicking off the week for the third straight year. Nothing would be happening without the leadership of Mirta Chavez and the tireless support of the staff in the Office of Diversity. Of particular note this year is the Office of the President which is providing the funding for our campus-wide celebration.

We hope you will join us as often as possible for the films, the Commerce Bank Awards, the lectures, meals, the vigil, and the ceremony of laying the wreaths. Let's make the 2014 MLK Observance Week a time of coming together and reaffirming that “The Dream is Still Our Beacon.”

View and download the 2014 MLK Observance Week Poster.

Please pick up hard copies of the poster for display in your area(s) and address any questions to the Office of Diversity at 532-6276.

Myra Gordon, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Diversity
224 Anderson Hall