University community gathers in remembrance of MLK

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University community gathers in remembrance of MLK

Kathryn Nicolai, News Editor

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The President’s Diversity Council and the MLK Week Committee invited the University and Lewisburg communities to gather and commemorate the life and death of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr on April 4 at the bust of Edward Brawley at 11:45 a.m. The MLK Remembrance and Moment of Silence was sponsored by the Griot Institute for Africana Studies, and notes the 50th year since King’s assassination.

 

Assistant Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies Dr. Nikki Young started the commemoration of MLK with remarks about MLK’s “thankless and dangerous” work to “break the shackles of systems of dehumanization and oppression.” Young performed the pouring of the Libation and Calling of Names, pouring water from one vessel to another, and allowing the crowd to shout out names of others they wished to commemorate. MLK, Nelson Mandela, and Maya Angelou were among names stated during the pouring. Cards were handed out, which included instances of political activism and rallies as well as acts of hate symbolizing “what we’ve done well and how far we still have to go,” Sam Lauer ’13 M’18 said.

Local vocalist Dr. Joanne F. Henry sang “Guide my Feet,” a traditional spiritual song that became representative of freedom during the civil rights movement. Mukta Phatak ’18 sang the civil rights song based on a traditional gospel, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round.” Phatak altered lyrics to include current issues singing, “Ain’t gonna let no NRA turn me around.” Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Jaye Austin Williams read an anonymously submitted poem, “April 4, 2016.”

Visiting Assistant Professor and Diversity & Inclusion Fellow Carmen Henne-Ochoa concluded the event reading from David Leonhardt’s New York Times opinion article that states, “King is now such a widely revered figure that many remembrances of him lack substance. But there are plenty of ways to celebrate what he actually stood for: not just moral clarity but also courage, toughness and resilience in the face of frequent setbacks and vicious criticism.”

Sarah Jautz ’19 thought the ceremony was “incredibly powerful” and “even though it was rainy and windy and we had every reason to push the event back, I’m proud to be a part of a campus community that doesn’t let bad weather deter us from honoring such an influential role model.”

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