From: Public Affairs
HARRISONBURG—Institutions of higher education, just as individuals, have an obligation to help others and promote social justice, says Valarie Ghant, director of James Madison University's Center for Multicultural Student Services.
One of the ways JMU promotes social justice is through its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week, which begins Monday, Jan. 11 and runs through Tuesday, Jan. 19. A number of events are planned around the week's theme, "A Timeless Dream: Enduring Change and Shaping Our Reality," including a keynote address Jan. 18 by The Rev. James Lawson, a civil rights leader and friend of Dr. King.
"The whole idea of civil rights, it's a movement Dr. King brought to the forefront," Ghant said. "And there's a higher calling, if you will. . . . He was a champion who answered that call in a way that was more special than maybe the next person, but I think even today, right here at James Madison, we have champions who are answering calls of justice in so many different ways and each one of us has an obligation—as an educator, as a worker, as an administrator, as a staff member in higher education—to expand the minds of the next generation whose going to be out in society making decisions. Politicians, physicians, whatever your field is, it doesn't negate us from the obligation that we have as human beings to first and foremost reach out and touch and help somebody."
The community is invited to join JMU in honoring Dr. King's work at the following events:
Jan. 11-15: Commons Days, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, on The Commons: Several student organizations sponsor booths and events in the spirit of service embodied by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; activities include canned food and clothing drives, arts and crafts and other philanthropic opportunities.
Jan. 13: Community Service, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Our Community Place, Harrisonburg.
Jan. 14: March and Speak Out, 4-6 p.m.: Members of the university community are asked to gather at 3:50 p.m. at the James Madison statue in front of Varner House for the march through campus that ends in Transitions in Warren Hall; along the route, participants will witness several interactive scenes that depict past and present injustices that touch the civil rights movement, Hispanic and Middle Eastern people, and people with various sexual orientations; during the Speak Out, members of the JMU community are encouraged to share their reflections on King, his dream and legacy.
Jan. 15: Community Service, 3-5 p.m., Loyalton of Harrisonburg.
Jan. 17: University Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Transitions, Warren Hall: Sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.
Jan. 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Formal Program, 7 p.m., (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), Wilson Hall Auditorium: The Rev. James Lawson, identified by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the “leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world,” speaks at the program honoring the life of King through words, drama and music.
Jan. 19: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture on Global Nonviolence, 6:30 p.m., Room 2301, Health and Human Service Building: The Rev. James Lawson presents “Nonviolent Action for Civil Rights”; sponsored by JMU’s Center for Multicultural Student Services and Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence.
For information, contact the Center for Multicultural Student Services at (540) 568-6636 or visit http://www.jmu.edu/multicultural.
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January 11, 2010