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Kansas State University honors Martin Luther King Jr. with week of observance

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015



MANHATTAN — Kansas State University will host several events for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Week, Jan. 26-30. The theme for this year's celebration is "Growing a Soul for Social Justice."

"We chose this theme because the country is awash in pain and controversy over police brutality, immigration reform and other critical human rights issues," said Myra Gordon, associate provost for diversity. "If we could all just have more empathy and sensitivity for others, more love in our hearts, more understanding of demographic inevitabilities, our country could continue its journey toward the realization of Dr. King's dream of a society that is just and equitable for all."

Events honoring King will begin with a free screening of "Spies of Mississippi" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art. The film is about the state of Mississippi's actions to undermine the civil rights movement.

Here's a look at other events during the week, all free and open to the public unless otherwise noted:

• The Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Tea will be 2:30-5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, in the College Center Conference Room at K-State Salina. The tea will feature an interview with the cast of "Clybourne Park," a satire set in 1959 about community leaders who stop the sale of a home to a Black family.

• The 11th annual Diversity Student Leaders Program will be at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, in the Cottonwood Room at the K-State Student Union. Sponsored by the College of Agriculture, Rodney Patterson, director of corporate diversity and talent management officer for CoBank, will tell his story and share the principles that have guided his life's journey. The Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Presidential Awards for Distinguished Minority Service reception will be at 3:30 p.m. in the Alumni Center. The awardees are Justine Floyd, senior in agribusiness, and Bryon Williams, assistant director of admissions. The awards are sponsored by the Commerce Bancshares Foundation and William T. Kemper Foundation.

• The 16th annual Diversity Lecture for the College of Business Administration will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Union's Forum Hall. The speaker will be Eric Butler, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Union Pacific. The College of Arts & Sciences will sponsor a Teach-In from 1-4 p.m. in the Union courtyard, where faculty members from the college will lead discussions and facilitate meaningful dialogues on today's pressing social justice issues. Participants will be free to come and go. The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture and Candlelight Vigil will be at 7 p.m. in the Union's Forum Hall. Robert Page, assistant to the president at Metropolitan Community College, will deliver the lecture "Beyond Ferguson: His Legacy, His Dream." The candlelight vigil is the oldest King observance program event at the university. A hot chocolate social, sponsored by the Staley School of Leadership Studies, will follow the vigil.

• The signature event of the week, the Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship Luncheon, will be at noon Thursday, Jan. 29, in the Union Ballroom. The keynote speaker, G. Pritchy Smith, will present the lecture "Growing a Soul for Social Justice." Smith is co-founder of the National Association for Multicultural Education and professor emeritus of education at the University of North Florida. Cost to attend is $15 a person. Reservations are encouraged by Jan. 23 at http://www.k-state.edu/diversity/2015MLKLunchReservation.htm.

• The Black Faculty and Staff Alliance and Alianza will host a social justice brown-bag discussion from 12:30-1:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, in Union Staterooms 1 and 2. The two groups will discuss contemporary social justice issues and how to work together to advance social justice at Kansas State University. The annual Laying of the Wreaths Ceremony will be at 2 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bust at Ahearn Field House. Martha Smith Caldas, instructor in the Division of Biology and member of Alianza, and Kimathi Choma, interim assistant dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and president-elect of the Black Faculty and Staff Alliance, will deliver comments at the ceremony. The Office of the President, the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President, the Asian American Student Union, the College of Agriculture/K-State Research and Extension, Career and Employment Services, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Division of Human Capital Services will sponsor the wreaths.

Written by

Stephanie Jacques

At a glance

Kansas State University will host several events for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Week, Jan. 26-30.