Martin Luther King Jr. honored in University events
January 17, 2017
With students still making their way back to campus to begin the spring semester, campus was relatively quiet on Monday. However, there is a very important reason why classes did not begin on Monday. Martin Luther King Jr. Day recognizes the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. The University recognized the revered civil rights leader through various celebrations and activities.
The Union hosted their annual MLK Day of Service on Monday. During the event, students participated individually or as a team working on various service projects for local organizations such as the Channing Murray Foundation, the Books to Prisoners Foundation, Carle Hospital, the Canteen Run and Ronald McDonald House.
Jasmine McDowell, senior in LAS and project leader for the event, said the event was important for students to participate in because it helps integrate students into the community.
“It’s an opportunity for students to get involved in what service means, to learn about who MLK was and the significance he had on this country and the world,” McDowell said. “Students have the opportunity to create service projects that will benefit the people in this community and potentially around the world.”
McDowell said participants sent letters to veterans and soldiers among other activities. This year’s event differs from last year’s because McDowell said they are adding an educational component where students will “learn about the significance of serving.”
The educational piece discussed service humility and making change.
“It’s on a unique time when there aren’t classes or stressing about exams. It’s a great time to get those volunteer hours in,” McDowell said.
In addition to the Day of Service, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts held a Krannert Uncorked event on Monday.
Prince Robertson, academic support specialist at the Office of Minority Student Affairs, wrote in an email what guests experienced at the event and what he hoped participants took away from the event.
Robertson said Infinite Soul, a musical band from the C-U community performed at Krannert Uncorked along with speeches from two to three students from the Brown Theatre Collective. The student organization performed spoken word based on the theme “Pursuing the Dream in Challenging Times.”
“We want the audience to receive a message through the art of music and spoken word, that the legacy left by Dr. King is still alive and people are still learning daily on how to apply it,” Robertson wrote.
Robertson sees this month’s Krannert Uncorked as a means to unite the C-U community in commemorating an important historical figure. He wrote that it has been a tradition of the University to have these events surrounding the arts. Robertson also wrote that he feels Krannert was the best setting for the event.
“Krannert is a very supportive and inclusive space open to not only the University community, but the community of Urbana-Champaign as well,” Robertson wrote. “Part of the committee’s vision for this event is to utilize music and spoken word to bring as many surrounding communities, students, faculty and overall people of different backgrounds together to embrace difference as they receive messages through the arts of what Dr. King has left for us all.”