MLK observance expands to two days

New events include day of service, presidential banquet

UIndy’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance will actually span two days this year, in a new extended format designed to involve more people, promote community service and spark ongoing campus discussion about diversity and civil rights.As always, the class schedule will be adjusted Monday to allow students, faculty and staff to attend a program of discussion and music from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in Ransburg Auditorium. Rather than a single guest speaker, the centerpiece of this year’s event will be a panel discussion on King’s legacy moderated by Dr. Jamal Ratchford of the Department of History & Political Science, with panelists including his colleague Dr. Ted Frantz, WIBC radio reporter/anchor and UIndy alumna Amber Stearns, and two students, Alexis Fort and Kyle Alvarez.

“We’re hoping to start a campus conversation,” said Dan Stoker, executive director of student services.

Also planned are a historical slide presentation and music from our Voices of Worship gospel choir. (The program is scheduled earlier in the day this year to avoid conflicting with the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, which will be televised for the campus community from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in UIndy Hall.)

Entirely new this year is a full schedule of events on Sunday, spearheaded by UIndy’s Black Student Association. On “Legacy of Service Day,” from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., participating students will perform service work at four community sites: working with children at Holy Family Shelter, housekeeping at Wheeler Mission, organizing food and school supplies at Westminster Neighborhood Ministries, and collecting and boxing food and household supplies for Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center. At 4:30 p.m., BSA will host an “Embracing the Dream” reception in Schwitzer Center’s Trustees Dining Room, presenting awards to students and staff who have contributed to campus diversity.

From 5:30 to 7 p.m. Sunday in UIndy Hall, BSA and President Robert Manuel‘s office will host a banquet, also under the theme “Embracing the Dream.” Highlights will include a keynote speech by Dr. Manuel and the induction of UIndy alumnus Gilbert Taylor, longtime curator of the Crispus Attucks Museum, into the Office of Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs’ Sankofa Circle of Civic Leaders.