The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Students reflect on MLK week events

Last week, Bucknell celebrated the annual tradition of Martin Luther King Jr, Week, designed by members of a designated committee to further connection and conversation within the student body. This year’s events coalesced around a theme of “Sustaining Social Movements”, relating the efforts Dr. King and contemporaries put forth in their time to the issues currently facing our society and how advocates and students alike can learn from his approaches to sustain relevant social movements today. 

The committee hosted a multitude of events, each targeting different topics within the wider subject of social justice, for Bucknell students, faculty and staff to attend. From film screenings to Weis Center presentations to fireside chats, they placed importance  on variety, ensuring every student had the opportunity to feel welcome at one or more of MLK Week’s offerings. 

Some students, like first-year Giselle Mayer ’27, attended an MLK event as part of a class requirement. An aspiring musician,  Mayer enrolled in a choir class this semester. She and her classmates attended the “Singing and Social Justice” community sing led by Reverend Angela Jones and Dr. Alisha Lola Jones in Rooke Chapel on January 20th. Her experience was one of surprise and, ultimately, joy—Mayer says that, at first, she “wasn’t quite sure what to expect,” but by the end of it, her spirits and voice had been “lifted.” 

“It was incredible to feel everyone in the chapel singing together, songs we’d just learned as the Reverend instructed us,” Mayer, reflecting on the experience, recalled. “She would sing for us, and then we’d join her. I felt like a part of a community.” 

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Maggie Hunter ’24, who attended the “Singing and Social Justice” event alongside Mayer and their choir-mates, “loved” the way the Reverend “blended the two concepts [of music and activism] to provide historical context” for the hymns and songs they sang. “Fire and enthusiasm” were evident throughout the room, as students from all backgrounds joined together in this celebration of where we come from to consider the thematic question of the event as a group: “Where do we go from here?” 

Senior and student change-maker Spencer Howell ’24 was invited to Dr. Jennifer Black’s talk held in the ELC Walls Lounge on January 24th, on the fight to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and form an anti-prison movement. They enjoyed the passion present in the room—how significant emphasis was placed on the necessity of acquiring freedom for those unjustly jailed—and, specifically, the focus on Mumia himself. Spencer reflects, “Even from his cell he is still loudly advocating for prison reform […] on his Prison Radio commentaries.” 

Beyond the specific events they attended, Howell points out the importance of MLK Week as a whole, as they “would never have known” some of the intricacies of an oft-misrepresented narrative if not for their attending Bucknell’s events that shed light on these complex social perceptions of change. 

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