Tag: Dr. Martin Luther King

A day “on”: Lawrentians honor MLK legacy through reflection, community service

While the annual holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a day off from work or school for many, more than 250 Lawrence University students, faculty, staff and local alumni will make it “a day on.”

A photo of Lawrence University student packing up a box to send to Feeding American in Eastern Wisconsin.As a prelude to the Jan. 16 annual Fox Cities community celebration of the life of the civil and human rights leader, which Lawrence will host in the Memorial Chapel beginning at 6:30 p.m., Lawrentians will spend part of the day engaged in community service.

Since 2008, Lawrence has honored King’s legacy by providing volunteers to area nonprofit organizations. This year Lawrence volunteers will spend part of the King holiday providing their time and talents to 11 local nonprofit organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley, Riverview Gardens, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Homeless Connections and the Bethesda Thrift Shop on a variety of activities, including a new reading initiative for K-6 students at Appleton’s Edison Elementary School.

Prior to the volunteer activities, Lawrence will conduct a Read & Reflect event the morning of Jan. 16 in the Warch Campus Center. The action-based discussion will focus on Marc Lamont Hill’s book “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.” It will include the sharing of personal experiences of feeling like a “nobody” and action individuals and the campus as a whole can take to better support society’s  most vulnerable members.

A photo of Lawrence University students volunteer on MLK's Day.

Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts will deliver the keynote address — “On the Fierce Urgency of Now” — at the Fox Cities’ 26th Martin Luther King community celebration.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Pulitzer Prize-winner headlines annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration; Lawrence professor to receive community award

Award-winning newspaper columnist and author Leonard Pitts believes the concept of “now” is as urgent as it has been in many years.

A photo of award-winning newspaper columnist and author Leonard Pitts.
Leonard Pitts

Pitts, who writes a nationally syndicated column for the Miami Herald, will deliver the keynote address Monday, Jan. 16 at the 26th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Two community awards will be presented as part of the celebration, including an educator award that will go to Lawrence University faculty member Amy Ongiri.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Refusing to be a Bystander to Racism and Injustice.” The event, which will include a sign language interpreter, is free and open to the public. A reception will immediately follow in Shattuck Hall 163.

The annual commemoration of Dr. King’s life and legacy is jointly presented by Lawrence University and Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities, with the support of numerous Fox Valley organizations, churches and individuals.

Inspired by a passage in King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he warned against “the tranquilizing drug of gradualism,” Pitts presents “On the Fierce Urgency of Now.”

King urged people not to be patient or wait for change to happen. Pitts believes that message needs to be reinforced because too many have “forgotten the fierce urgency of now, neglected to keep the pedal to the metal where human rights are concerned,” eroding much of the progress made in the post-civil rights era. In light of events of the past year, particularly the outcome of the national election, Pitts will make the case for the urgency of “now.”

During his 40-year career, Pitts has been recognized numerous times for literary excellence, including a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004. His popular twice-a-week column appears in dozens of newspapers around the country. The National Association of Black Journalists have honored Pitts with its annual Award of Excellence three times and named him its Journalist of the Year in 2008.

He is a seven-time recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Green Eyeshade Award and has been the recipient of the Atlantic City Press Club’s National Headliners Award five times.

In addition to his column, Pitts has written five critically acclaimed books, including 2015’s “Grant Park,” a provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America.

Pitts, who resides in Bowie, Md., earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern California at the age of 19 after starting college as a 15-year old on a special honors program.

With a celebration theme focused on refusing to be a bystander to racism and injustice, Kathy Flores, chair of the MLK Planning Committee, says Pitts is the perfect keynote speaker.

“I can’t wait to hear Leonard Pitts’ address because so much of his writing has examined this very topic,” said Flores. “He is a shining example of someone in the media who stands up against racism and injustice in every word he writes. His passion and authenticity for justice makes him a powerful writer and speaker.”

A Head shot of Lawrence University Jill Beck Director of Film Studies and associate professor of film studies Amy Ongiri.
Amy Ongiri

As part of the community celebration, Ongiri will receive the third MLK Educator Award and Sarah Long-Radloff will be recognized as the 23rd recipient of the Jane LaChapelle McCarty Community Leader Award.

Ongiri joined the Lawrence faculty in 2014 as the Jill Beck Director of Film Studies and associate professor of film studies. She since has established herself as a fighter for social justice and a passionate advocate for all marginalized people.

With scholarship focused on diversity and multiculturalism, Ongiri has developed classes in which students engage intensely with issues of race, class, ability, ethnicity, body size, gender, sexuality and other categories of social hierarchy while challenging students to examine their unconscious biases.

As a role model of social justice activism, Ongiri serves as a faculty mentor for several Lawrence diversity and social justice student organizations, among them Alianza and the Men of Color Alliance. Her impact on students has been described as “profound.”

Her engagement extends beyond the campus, leading presentations on issues of diversity for local companies. As a strong believer that queer women of color be visible, she volunteers frequently as a DJ at local events, including the city’s annual Juneteenth celebration, and coaches basketball on Saturday mornings at the YMCA.

A Head shot of Fox Cities resident Sarah Long-Radloff.
Sarah Long-Radloff

Long-Radloff, a Fox Cities resident for more than 40 years, has been engaged in community outreach since she arrived, acting on her mission of providing a majority-white community with a positive African American experience.

She is active in the Appleton Kiwanis Club, earning the organization’s George F. Hixson Fellowship Award in 2016.  Serving some of the community’s most vulnerable or at-risk citizens, she volunteers at Harbor House, the Emergency Shelter/Homeless Connections and at the state prison in Waupun.

During a career at Kimberly-Clark Corp., Long-Radloff was involved with several diversity initiatives and helped train upper management, both locally and nationally, in support of the company’s efforts to create a more diverse work force.

The celebration also will feature student winners of the annual MLK essay contest, who will read their entries. This year’s winning student essayists are:

Caroline Basehoar, 3rd grade, St. Francis Xavier Elementary School, Appleton
Eli Skrypczak, 4th grade, Foster Elementary School, Appleton
• Kala Lones, 9th grade, Appleton North High School
• Milly Figueroa, 11th grade, Appleton North High School

The celebration will include a spoken word performance by members of Lawrence’s Slam Poetry Club and music by Anthony Gonzalez, B-Lilly, Mauranda Owens, Mike Pope and Paris Wicker.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence hosts 25th annual community celebration of MLK’s life, legacy

Although Lawrence University classes won’t be held Jan. 18 on the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., more than 300 students will make it “a day on, not a day off” by engaging in 18 community service projects.

MLK-Day_service_neewsblog-2016
Lawrence students have embraced the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a day of community engagement and service.

Lawrentians will spend part of their day volunteering their time and talents on activities ranging from painting a rock climbing wall at Appleton’s Edison Elementary School to leading interactive projects that incorporate themes of equality, advocacy and the civil rights movement at the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley.

Highlighting the day will be the community celebration of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The annual commemoration of King’s life and legacy is jointly presented by Lawrence University and the community organization Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities, with the support of The Post-Crescent, numerous Fox Valley organizations, churches and individuals.

Stansbury Theatre in the adjacent Music-Drama Center will be equipped with a video screen to accommodate overflow crowd should the Chapel reach capacity. The event is free and open to the public and a sign language interpreter will be present.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Breaking the Chains of Injustice.” Social justice icon, scholar and author Dr. Angela Davis will deliver the event’s keynote address.

Dr.-Angela-Davis_web
Dr. Angela Davis

As a student, writer, scholar and activist/organizer, Davis has devoted much of her life to social justice movements domestically and internationally. Most recently, the Birmingham, Ala., native has focused largely on social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination.

“I am looking forward to hearing Dr. Davis’ call to action for our community at the annual celebration,” said Kathy Flores, the diversity coordinator for the City of Appleton and chairperson of the MLK planning committee. “Many people forget what a radical Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was considered in his time on this earth. I am confident that Dr. Davis will inspire and challenge us to remember and embrace the true legacy of Dr. King.”

In 1970, Davis was placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She spent 18 months in jail and on trial before being acquitted by a jury. Davis has drawn on those experiences as an author of 10 books, including 2005’s “Abolition Democracy” and 2003’s “Are Prisons Obsolete?” in which she argues for “decarceration.”

Her just released book, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of a Movement,” is a collection of essays, speeches and interviews highlighting the relationships among historical and contemporary state violence and oppression in the world. It will be used as the next installment in the Fox Cities’ Books Build Community series.

Davis, who studied at Brandeis University and the Sobornne in Paris, has spent the past 15 years at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she is Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and of Feminist Studies.

Her career as an educator and scholar has seen Davis teach at San Francisco State University, Mills College, University of California Berkeley, Vassar College and Stanford University, among others.

“I am confident that Dr. Davis will inspire and challenge us to remember and embrace the true legacy of Dr. King.”
— Kathy Flores, Appleton diversity coordinator

The community celebration also will recognize Tony Awofeso with the annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty Community Leader Award and Ben Vogel with the MLK Educator Award.

A former Outagamie County Board Supervisor, Awofeso is the current president of B.A.B.E.S., Inc., a child abuse prevention program, and former chair of the organization Towards Community: Unity In Diversity (the precursor to Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities). He co-founded African Heritage, Inc. and has served on the boards of the North East Wisconsin Fair Housing Council and CAP Services.

Vogel is the assistant superintendent of school/student services for the Appleton Area School District. He has been an advocate on social injustice issues pervading the school and community cultures with a focus on closing the opportunity gap between African American K-12 and white K-12 students.

Four local students winners of the annual MLK essay contest — Eliana Brenn, Sydni Wanty, Ndemazea Fonkem and Michayla Kading — will read their winning entries as part of the celebration.

The celebration will include music by Anthony Gonzalez, Lawrence student B-Lilly, members of the Lawrence Black Student Union and a spoken word performance by members of Lawrence’s Slam Poetry Club.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.