In observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will host a campus-wide book read at the College with the intention of bringing community members together to engage with Dr. King’s legacy on an intellectual level and to explore how it still resonates today.
More than 125 students, faculty and staff will be reading and discussing Tavis Smiley’s “Death of a King,” which focuses on the final year of Dr. King’s life. “Sometimes Dr. King’s legacy is oversimplified; his work becomes largely symbolic,” explains Greta Kenney, associate director of diversity and inclusion, who is organizing the book read. “This book engages with the nuances of Dr. King’s life and work, including the complexities. It’s our hope that the book discussion provides faculty, staff, and students with an opportunity to look deeper at Dr. King’s work and to ask: where would Dr. King stand on issues we’re faced with today?”
In addition to three discussion sessions that will take place from Feb. 2-4, the chosen book, “Death of King,” will also serve as the theme for the ninth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon taking place on Monday, Jan. 25 in the Hogan Ballroom. The event, co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Education and the Office of Student Involvement, encourages the development of leadership and activism modeled by Dr. King who began his social activism as a college student.
“In preparing our students to become leaders and responsible citizens, we must understand that King was more than a dream, more than an eloquent and passionate speaker. He was a man of great compassion and an immeasurable visionary,” says Mable Millner, associate dean of students for diversity and inclusion and director of the office of multicultural education.
The luncheon, a part of the Aptissimi Leadership Conference which invites students to explore and develop their leadership skills, will feature a keynote address by Robert E. Johnson, the tenth and current president of Becker College. Johnson has dedicated his more-than-25-year career to transforming the lives of young people. Challenging students to build upon the three pillars of global citizenship—academic excellence, social responsibility, and creative expression—he encourages them to embrace the opportunities inherent in a rapidly changing future and an increasingly global society.
“Dr. Robert Johnson, a Morehouse graduate like Dr. King, experienced the same teachings and philosophy which have purposefully molded the men of Morehouse,” explains Millner, who says Johnson’s commitment to social betterment makes him a fitting speaker for a luncheon dedicated to the work of Dr. King and themes of leadership. “Throughout his career, Johnson has been guided by the same commitment of service, community, and humanity.”
The College will continue to embrace diversity and inclusion through the fifth annual Multifaith Community Prayer taking place on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. in Mary Chapel. The prayer, sponsored by the Chaplains’ Office, will welcome local faith leaders to campus to celebrate the many faiths at Holy Cross with our community.
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