Saint Anselm salutes Martin Luther King Jr.

Emily Maier, Crier staff

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January 21 is the day on which the nation celebrates the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. The prominent civil rights activist is remembered for his bravery and eloquence in the face of systemic racism in the 50s and 60s. Despite giving his famous “I Have a Dream” speech over five decades ago, King’s message of resistance and perseverance is still pertinent to the societal oppression that many minorities continue to face today.

Each year, Saint Anselm has no shortage of events scheduled in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. With almost 30 different events and programs planned, this year is certainly no different. Among these plans are community discussions, speeches, displays, film showings, and a debate. With such a variety of on-campus events, there is sure to be something for everyone, no matter their interests.

A few events are ongoing for the period of the 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebratory Program. For the entire month of January, a digital exhibition of the major events in King’s remarkable life will be available. If pictures truly say a thousand words, this photography exhibition should have plenty to say on the matter of King’s life and activism. There will also be a library book display in the Geisel Library of contemporary African American writers. This display, titled “Today’s Voice,” will be comprised of books with a focus of confronting racism.

To kick off this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Program, three events were held on Jan 18. The first was a discussion titled, “Is the Civil Rights Movement in America Over?” This talk, held at 12:30 PM in the LLC Meeting Room, was led by Professor Bruell of the Criminal Justice Department. Like all “Come Friday” discussions, the event was sponsored by the Grappone Humanities Institute. The second event was a concert at 7:30 PM in the Koonz Theater, featuring the Archdiocese of Boston Black Catholic Choir. Lastly, a comedian going by the title “The Mandal Man” arrived at 8 PM in the Jean Center Student Auditorium.

On Jan 24, the Lucubrations club invited the community to share their original works of poetry, music, photography, or art during an Open Mic night at 7:30 PM. This event encouraged campus members to start a dialogue about race, particularly about how King’s legacy has impacted these discussions. While these specific events have already come and gone, anyone who missed them can keep an eye out for next year, as similar occasions will surely be scheduled.

As for upcoming events, four more discussions will be held. The first talk on the list is another “Come Friday” discussion titled, “Will the poor really always be with us?” Led by Professor Gustafson of the Politics Department, this event will be held Jan 25 at 12:30 PM in Joseph 005. At 3 PM on the same day, a second discussion will be hosted by the Philosophy Club on the third floor of Bradley House, this time centered on the broad subject of race.

Another talk about African American Women and Suffrage will take place in Dana 1D on Jan 31 at 4 PM. On Feb 27, a community conversation about race can be found in the Presidents Dining from 12:30 to 1:30 PM. The last discussion is titled “Joining with Community Partners for a Conversation about Equity,” which will be held in the West Wing of NHIOP on March 20 at 6 PM.

The campus is also invited to three upcoming film showings. The first movie will be The Great Debaters, shown on Feb 4 at 7:30 PM in Dana Center’s Koonz Theater. A French film titled L’Ascension (“The Climb”) will be held by The French Club on Feb 6 at 6 PM in the Perini Lecture Hall. Lastly, the movie 42, about the rise to fame of Jackie Robinson, will be shown on Feb 7 at 5 PM in Dana 1D.

In addition, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Program features a few presentations, the first of which is titled “Latinxs, the Bible, and Migration.” The presenters will be discussing their essays in their recently published book of the same name on Jan 28 at 7:30 PM in the Perini Lecture Hall. On Jan 30, Dr. Jennifer Thorn will lead a talk about “Blackness and Boyhood in New England” in the West Wing of NHIOP at 1:30 PM. Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White, will also hold a lecture titled “I’m a Good Person, Isn’t that Enough?” on Feb 21 at 7 PM in the Dana Center.

The rest of the upcoming events are a mixed bag. The Saint Anselm College Debate Team will ask the question: “Should undocumented immigrants be granted amnesty?” on Jan 31 at 7 PM in the Perini Lecture Hall. February will also bring attention to new African American voices. This month includes a new digital exhibition on the African American artist, Jacob Lawrence, and another library display showcasing the works of E.B. Lewis, a prominent illustrator of books with black protagonists. On Feb 16, CAB will host Black History Month Trivia in the Coffee Shop at 8 PM. The Intercultural Center and the Multicultural Student Coalition will also be sponsoring a weekend unity retreat to the Essex Meeting and Retreat Center in Massachusetts from Feb 22 to Feb 23.

Through the months of January and February, these events stimulate campus-wide discussions regarding King’s teachings. They inspire students and faculty alike to think about the relevance of King’s messages and how these sentiments can help dismantle systemic injustices still found in society today.

His lessons about altruism and love in the face of darkness have lasted for decades and will continue to be revered for countless years to come. King’s legacy reminds people that everyone is capable of making a difference.

As the beloved reverend’s words remind us: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

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