Elon to celebrate legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with January events

Service, social and healing opportunities along with other special programs at Elon during January will commemorate the life and legacy of the late civil rights leader.

The Elon University community will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy during the month of January with a range of events that this year will be focused on the theme of “Let Freedom Reign”.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered for his achievements and philosophy during the civil rights movement and for the methods he used to get there — namely, nonviolence. During the civil rights movement, King preached that nonviolence and civil disobedience are the only way to fight for freedom.

King dreamed of an equal and just society for all. At the center of nonviolent actions stands the principle of love. Today, King’s language of love and nonviolent action resonates globally for all people who stand up for freedom. He acknowledged that a tough mind and a tender heart are a key combination to cultivating change and bringing about the dream of freedom.

“Love, truth, and the courage to do what is right should be our guiding lights on this lifelong journey,” King said. “Our strength to love will bring the dream to fruition.”

The theme, ‘Let Freedom Reign” is inspired by King’s achievements and philosophy during the civil rights movement. This year, the celebration centers King’s legacy of peace, equity, social justice and love as an essential practice for democracy and the advancement of all people. Programs in the calendar seek to advance the theoretical understanding of racism as well as explore the lived impact on others, with the hope that this knowledge builds the capacity of participants to dismantle racism in all facets of modern society.

Based on King’s achievements and philosophy, this year’s theme of Let Freedom Reign” explores four sub-themes:

  • Freedom
  • Equality
  • Social Justice
  • Love

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Planning Committee has partnered with many across campus to promote and provide opportunities for the university community to engage contemporary issues of equity, diversity and inclusion at the intersection of race, classism and the communities that people are embedded in.

To help structure the programmatic offerings in memory of King and create pathways for involvement, below are three broader categories to organize events and prompt engagement:

  • Learn

Programs in the Learn pathway are informational and/or instructional in nature and may take the form of keynote speakers, invited lectures from faculty/staff within Elon (or beyond), involve undergraduate and faculty research or screenings of movies with panel style Q&A, etc.

  • Engage

Programs in the Engage pathway allow participants to engage with others to explore a civic or community-based phenomenon that is more directly tied to one or more themes of King’s work, life, and legacy. This can include the implementation and/or participation in a variety of community engagement and/or service-learning events with partners in the community, deliberative dialogue and/or other expositions.

  • Express

Programs in the Express pathway seek to highlight various, multidimensional aspects of the lived experience at the intersection of concepts and themes related to Martin Luther King Jr. This may include creative, musical, dance and theatrical performances, oratorical contests, and panels of Elon students, faculty, and staff.

Calendar of Events

Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address: Tommy Orange

Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6 p.m.
McCrary Theatre

Tommy Orange’s “There There” is an exceptional debut novel that grapples with the history of a nation while showcasing a side of America few of us have ever seen. After noticing a lack of stories about urban Native Americans, Orange created a remarkable work that explores those who have inherited a profound spirituality, but who are also plagued by addiction, abuse, and suicide. “There There” tells the story of 12 characters who each have private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, and who come together after a brutal act of violence.

DEEP Movie Viewing: “Our Friend, Martin”

Friday, Jan. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m.
CREDE-Moseley 221

DEEP is the Center for Race, Ethnicity, & Diversity Education’s (CREDE) signature program for social justice. We provide spaces for the Elon community to learn about, reflect on, and apply concepts of social justice with a foundation in racial equity. Together, we hope to achieve a greater understanding of identities, power, and their relation to systemic inequities.

International Civil Rights Center and Museum – Cultural Excursion

Saturday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m.
134 S. Elm St., Greensboro

The Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education is excited to sponsor a trip for Elon University students and staff members to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro. Registration is required for students and employees interested in participating in this cultural excursion can sign up here. Space is limited to the first 20 to register. Contact Simone Royal (sroyal2@elon.edu) for more information.

National Day of Racial Healing: #HowWeHeal Dinner Dialogue

Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
McKinnon E & F

The National Day of Racial Healing is a time to contemplate our shared values and create the blueprint together for #HowWeHeal from the effects of racism. On this day, individuals and communities across the U.S. come together to explore their common humanity and build the relationships necessary to create a more just and equitable world. Registration for the event is required.

Martin Luther King Jr. Service Opportunities

Jan. 18-20
Event locations are listed below

  • American Red Cross Blood Drive

The Kernodle Center for Civic Life, is hosting a winter blood drive that will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 18, noon to 6 p.m. in Alumni Gym. Visit the registration site and select “see times” to sign-up for a slot. Contact Sadie Richey at srichey@elon.edu with any questions.

  • United Way Community Resource Distribution

Join the Kernodle Center and United Way of Alamance County as they distribute community resource information to neighborhoods in east Burlington on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.  Volunteers will work in small teams to distribute information door hangers to local residents in order to help spread awareness about Alamance County community resources. Registration is required. Contact Kyle Anderson at kanderson52@elon.edu with any questions. Transportation and lunch will be provided.

  • Boys and Girls Club After-School Program

Join the Kernodle Center for Civic Life and Boys and Girls Club of Alamance County for an afternoon of volunteering on Friday, Jan. 20, from 2:30 to 6 p.m. with their after-school program as part of our MLK Week Activities.

Registration is required. Contact Kyle Anderson at kanderson52@elon.edu with any questions.  Transportation will be provided.