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Community commemorates MLK Day

Nikki Taylor | Monday, January 18, 2010

Today’s holiday honoring the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. will be celebrated both at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s with events including a documentary film, a commemorative march and a theatrical performance.

Stephanie Bridges, assistant director of Multicultural Services at the College, said celebrating King’s work is important because it helps highlight the core values of Saint Mary’s.

“It is especially important for the Saint Mary’s College community to celebrate this holiday because of the colleges core values of Learning, Community, Faith/Spirituality and Justice,” Bridges said. “The life of Dr. King exemplifies all of these things, and what he was able to teach us regarding the importance of fighting for equal justice for all through non violence was phenomenal.”

At the College, the office of Multicultural Services and Student Programs along with the Sisters of Nefertiti are hosting their annual commemorative march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The march will begin at 5 p.m. in the Student Center lounge with the viewing of the Academy Award-nominated film, “The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306,” which sheds light on the events leading up to King’s assassination.

“It is always good to acknowledge and recognize the work of others who have gone before you to make life better for others,” Bridges said.

The film outlines the sanitation workers strike that lead  King to come to Memphis, Tenn, in order to lend his support to the cause.

The documentary also offers eyewitness accounts from his assassination, Sarah Durica, an assistant in the office of Multicultural Services, said in an e-mail to the student body.
Following the film there will be a candlelit march around campus ending in Stapleton Lounge to commemorate Dr. King and his work.

The memorial continues on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the Moreau Little Theater with a theatrical presentation by the Grimes Theatre Group entitled “The Meeting,” which portrays what might have happened had Malcom X and Dr. King had a clandestine meeting before their assassinations.

Notre Dame will also hold a series of celebrations over the course of the day, beginning with a prayer service at 4 p.m. in the Rotunda of the Main Building with a reception following the service.

University President Fr. John Jenkins and dean of First Year Studies Rev. Hugh Page, professor of theology and Africana Studies will offer prayers.

The Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS) held a workshop this weekend on “Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training” to provide strategies for eliminating institutionalized racism.

MSPS is also hosting a lecture titled “Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama,” Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library.