Denison celebrates the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with a series of events
Date of Event: January 24, 2010
Posted: January 11, 2010
Each year Denison University honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with events that revolve around a central theme. This year’s theme is “Constructing Community: What Piece is Next?” Events will explore the concept of community, how community is created, and finally, what happens next? Events are free and open to the public except where otherwise noted.
Based on its January academic calendar, Denison traditionally schedules its Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration one week later than the federal holiday. This year, the college's celebration takes place from Sunday, Jan. 24, through Friday, Jan. 29.
Inspired by King’s legacy of service, Denison students will participate in a 24-hour service challenge that will present volunteer teams with a task to complete. A variety of tasks will draw on the talents and skills of all group members, while requiring them to, in the words of King, “use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” Challenges may include the preparation of lunches for a local homeless shelter, the development of a story presentation about King for a third-grade class, the planning and filming of a video about financial literacy for women at the domestic violence shelter, or the collection of costumes for a new theater program for autistic children.
The Rev. Gary V. Simpson, Denison alumnus from the class of 1984, will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 24, in Swasey Chapel (200 Chapel Drive). Simpson is senior pastor of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, N.Y. He ministers to the 4,000-member congregation and leads in the social-change tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. He heads such community outreach ministries as the Concord Baptist Elementary School, Concord Seniors Residence, Concord Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Concord Home Services for the Elderly, Concord Federal Credit Union, Concord Clothing Exchange, Concord Baptist Christfund, Concord Family Services, and the Concord Community Development Corporation. Simpson also is assistant professor of homiletics at Drew University Theological Seminary.
On Monday, Jan. 25, the Denison community will gather for a series of events, beginning with a lunch at noon in the Mitchell Center (200 Livingston Drive). Local student winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest will be invited to read from their essays, which explore this year’s theme. The lunch is open to members of the greater community at a charge of $6.90 per person.
Charles Ogletree, the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard and the founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, will deliver the keynote address at 1 p.m., on Monday, Jan. 25, in the Mitchell Center (200 Livingston Drive) immediately following the luncheon. Ogletree is a legal theorist who has earned an international reputation by examining complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Following the keynote address, Denison students and faculty will participate in small working groups to design campus-wide projects, which will tackle a specific diversity issue. Projects may become a resource future programming at the college. The sessions are open only to members of the Denison community.
The day’s events will close with an informal reception at 3:30 p.m. at the William Howard Doane Library (400 West Loop). Themed exhibits will reflect the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Later in the week, Denison faculty, staff and students will address this year’s theme, “Constructing Community: What Piece is Next?” during a “Jazz Night and Spoken Word Showcas” at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, on the second floor of Slayter Union (200 Ridge Road). Performances including selected poetry and jazz music will be featured throughout the evening.
Maria Varela, a community organizer for more than 40 years, will facilitate a workshop about campus and community organizing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, in the Welsh Hills Room of the Burton D. Morgan Center (150 Ridge Road). In 1962 she joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and is the first Latina to document the civil rights struggle in the black belt South. Her work has been included in books and photo exhibits featured in galleries and museums, including the Smithsonian. Varela is a 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and in 1990, she was honored with a MacArthur Foundation fellowship.
The 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Denison will conclude with a Vail Series Concert performance by Imani Winds, with Stefon Harris on the vibraphone, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29, in Swasey Chapel (200 Chapel Drive). The innovative woodwind quintet marries classical music with jazz and world influences. On this occasion, vibraphonist-composer Stefon Harris joins the quintet in performing his new work created especially for the Imani Winds. Tickets may be offered for sale to the general public at $15 as space allows. Details are available at vailseries.org
These events are sponsored by the Denison University Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, the John Alford Center for Service-Learning, Multi-Cultural Epistemology, the William Howard Doane Library and staff, the Center for Black Studies and the Vail Series.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville — The Reverend Gary V. Simpson, senior pastor of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, N.Y., at 7:30 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 24, in Swasey Chapel (200 Chapel Drive). Free and open to the public. www.denison.edu.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville — Martin Luther King Jr. Day, lunch at noon on Mon., Jan. 25, in the Mitchell Center (200 Livingston Drive). $6.90 charge for non-Denison attendees. www.denison.edu.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville — Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law presents the keynote address at 1 p.m., on Mon., Jan. 25, in the Mitchell Center (200 Livingston Drive). Free and open to the public.www.denison.edu.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville — Reception in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. at 3:30 p.m. on Mon., Jan. 25, at the William Howard Doane Library (400 West Loop). Free and open to the public. www.denison.edu.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville — Jazz Night and Spoken Word Showcase at 8 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 27, on the 2nd floor of Slayter Union (200 Ridge Road). Free and open to the public. www.denison.edu.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville — Maria Varela workshop on campus and community organizing at 7 p.m. on Thur., Jan. 28, in the Welsh Hills Room of the Burton D. Morgan Center (150 Ridge Road) Free and open to the public. www.denison.edu.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville — Vail Series Concert performance by Imani Winds, with Stefon Harris on the vibraphone, at 8 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 29, in Swasey Chapel (200 Chapel Drive). Ticket information available at vailseries.org or call 740-587-6557.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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