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Source: Myra Gordon, 785-532-6276,
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009


MANHATTAN -- An inaugural party celebrating the nation's first black president, a firsthand account of the civil rights movement in Kansas and community service projects are just some of the activities taking place during Kansas State University's Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Week, Jan. 19-23.

The week, with the theme of "Realizing the Dream," is a celebration of the civil rights leader's legacy.

"We chose this theme to recognize the historical significance of the inauguration of America's first black president which will occur during the week of our observance," said Myra Gordon, K-State associate provost for diversity and dual career development. "For many people, this is the realization of a dream."

Monday, Jan. 19, also will mark the 41st anniversary of King's visit to the K-State campus.

"In many ways, his landmark appearance catalyzed the promotion of diversity and inclusion at K-State and started moving us toward realizing the dream," Gordon said.

Activities during the weeklong celebration include:

* Monday, Jan. 19 -- K-State community service project, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Manhattan Town Center. Volunteers are to meet at the mall to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a "day on, not a day off" by working with local nonprofit agencies. For more information, contact Kim Frazier at 785-532-3670.

* Tuesday, Jan. 20 -- Careem Gladney, senior in finance, Manhattan, and Rebeca Paz, coordinator of K-State's Pilots Program, will be honored with special Commerce Bank awards, 3:30 p.m., at the K-State Alumni Center. Gladney will receive the Commerce Bank Presidential Award for Enhancing Multiculturalism, while Paz will be recognized with the Commerce Bank Presidential Faculty/Staff Award for Distinguished Services to Historically Underrepresented Students. An inaugural party will be at 7 p.m. in the K-State Student Union Ballroom. The event is open to the public.

* Wednesday, Jan. 21 -- Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship Luncheon, noon, in the Union Ballroom. The keynote address, "Unraveling the Knot of Power and Privilege," will be given by Allan G. Johnson. Actress Adilah Barnes will perform "I am That I Am: Woman, Black" as part of candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. in the Union's Forum Hall. The vigil and performance are sponsored by the Kappa Tau chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the K-State Union Program Council. A hot chocolate reception, sponsored by K-State's School of Leadership Studies, will follow, around 8 p.m., in the foyer outside Forum Hall.

* Thursday, Jan. 22, Johnson will present "Power, Privilege and Difference" as part of K-State's Provost Lecture Series, at 10:30 a.m. in Fiedler Auditorium. A workshop of the same name will follow at 3 p.m. in Hale Library's Hemisphere Room. Chester Owens Jr. will deliver "A Firsthand View of Civil Rights in Kansas" as part of the Diversity Student Leader Luncheon, 12:20 p.m., at the K-State Alumni Center.

* Friday, Jan. 23, The first Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon for Diverse Faculty and Staff will be at noon in the Union's Konza Room. The "Laying of the Wreaths" ceremony will be at 2 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial bust near the southeast corner of Ahearn Field House.

More information about K-State's Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Week and is available at: