College organizes activities to build on MLK legacy

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College community will reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in a series of four “Remembering MLK” events beginning on Friday, Jan. 13, and running through Saturday, Jan. 21.
Middlebury’s annual Alumni of Color Weekend will feature a keynote address by Sonya Renee Taylor this Friday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. in Wilson Hall. The social-justice activist will combine wit, spoken-word poetry, and historical images in a presentation she calls “Movements in a Month: How History Shows Us We Can Change the World in 30 Days.”
Taylor, the founder of an organization named The Body Is Not an Apology, uses her insight into the life of Dr. King to “remind us that we have the potential to transform the world and our lives.” The guest speaker is active in the Black Lives Matter movement and the Anti Police-Terror Project in Oakland, Calif.
On Sunday, Jan.  15, at 7 p.m. in Mead Chapel, the Scott Center for Religious and Spiritual Life will conduct a multifaith service of prayer, readings and song to honor the vision and legacy of King and the Civil Rights Movement. The event will offer attendees “moments of inspiration and opportunities to recommit to the principles of social justice,” said Chaplain Laurel M. Jordan ’79. “I am hopeful that students will attend the service and see that non-violent resistance can be a powerful force for social change.”
Monday, Jan.  16, is the national day of observance of MLK’s birthday, and Middlebury will commemorate the occasion with a Community Breakfast and program of celebration and reflection organized by Black Student Union co-presidents Nia Robinson and Clark Lewis, both sophomores. The event open to faculty, students, and staff will be held in Atwater Dining Hall starting at 8 a.m.
Middlebury’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) will offer a Day of Activism and Service on Saturday, Jan.  21, so members of the college community can discover ways to harness their skills, passion, and knowledge to bring about social change.
There will be activities throughout the day including workshops on white privilege, Black Lives Matter, and gender inclusivity. CCE is encouraging students to participate in the Women’s March on Montpelier on Saturday afternoon, and from 2 to 4 p.m. the CCE staff is conducting “drop-in activities” to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, learn about Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Campaign, and develop strategies “for care and compassion for yourself and others.”
Emma McDonald ’16, the AmeriCorps volunteer in CCE, and Ashley Laux ’06, the associate director of CCE, helped organize this year’s Remembering MLK events. They explained: “Dr. King refused to accept racial and economic injustice, oppression, or violence, and spent his life fighting for change through community action and nonviolent protest. In that spirit, we invite students, faculty, and staff to join us and honor his work.”

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