Tag: equality

“Those Who Have Been Left Out” focus of annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration

Senegal native Aly Wane, an undocumented organizer living in Syracuse, N.Y., shares his message for the need to fight inequality in all its forms as the keynote speaker at the 27th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration.

Aly Wane
Organizer Aly Wane will deliver the keynote address at the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King community celebration.

Focusing on the need for a better understanding of the concept of citizenship and global citizenship, Wane will deliver the address “Those Who Have Been Left Out.” The celebration commemorating Dr. King’s life and legacy will be held Monday, Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public and will include a sign language interpreter.

Two community members will be honored during the celebration with a reception immediately following the program in Shattuck Hall 163.

Wane’s message is inspired by a passage from a 1966 speech in which King said, “I choose to identify with the underprivileged. I choose to identify with the poor. I choose to give my life for the hungry. I choose to give my life for those who have been left out of the sunlight of opportunity. I choose to live for those who find themselves seeing life as a long and desolate corridor with no exit sign. This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way. If it means sacrificing, I’m going that way. If it means dying for them, I’m going that way, because I heard a voice saying, ‘Do something for others.’”

Wane, whose work is at the intersection of race and migration, is active with a variety of organizations, working with the Syracuse Peace Council, the country’s oldest grassroots antiwar group, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the Undocumented and Black Network and the Black Immigration Network.

In a 2017 interview with The Progressive, Wane spoke of the need to make the immigration conversation a racial justice conversation.

“When folks still think about undocumented folks, they still think about Latinos,” Wane told the magazine. “I don’t want to say ‘privilege’ that I have had, but I have had U.S. citizen Latino friends stopped by Border Patrol and ICE and I have been able to get away with it because I don’t look Latino. Of course, I am black and therefore I am always getting stopped by cops anyway. But, I think that it would be a lie to have an analysis of the immigration system that doesn’t speak very directly about the influence of race in this country.”

Pa Lee Moua
Pa Lee Moua

Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for diversity at Lawrence, said the theme of this year’s community celebration, “Those Who Have Been Left Out,” struck a personal chord with her.

“As a refugee child, adapting to another world was extremely hard — hard on my family, myself and my outlook on the future,” said Moua, a member of the MLK celebration planning committee. “As much as I wanted to adapt, I did not want to change who I was in order to be accepted by others. No one should judge another person, assumptions create exclusions. When you choose to exclude others, you create additional unnecessary barriers and burdens for them to carry, sometimes for a lifetime. Therefore, before you act, think about your actions. The smallest act of kindness goes a long way.  As Dr. King once said, ‘I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.’”

Wane, 41, who considers himself a global citizen, is the son of a Muslim father from Senegal and a Catholic mother from Mali, who met each other while studying in France. They separated when Wane was young and his father passed away at the age of 38. He came to the United States when he was almost nine with his mother after she landed a position with the United Nations Development Program.

He’s lived in Rwanda and Gabon with his mother who was on assignments there before he returned to the U.S. when he was 13. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2001 from Le Moyne College in Syracuse.

His older sister and only living relative, who was able to obtain H-1B status through her work, established permanent residency and eventual citizenship, is sponsoring Wane for legalization, a process that could take 10 years.

Yee Lee Vue, the adult services engagement librarian at the Appleton Public Library, will be recognized as the 24th recipient of the Jane LaChapelle McCarty Community Leader Award.

Maysa Pasayes, manager, Scholars for Success program, Diversity and Inclusion Services at Fox Valley Technical College, will be presented the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educator Award.

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

Portia Hah, 3rd grade, Woodland Elementary School

Kate Jannette, 4th grade, St. Francis Xavier Elementary School

La Lee Yang, 8th grade, James Madison Middle School

The celebration will include a music performances by Anthony Gonzalez, B-Lilly and the Soul Brothers and university organist Kathrine Handford.

Martin Luther Kind DAy of Service logoPrior to the evening celebration, members of the Lawrence community will make the MLK holiday a day of service by participating in a variety of volunteer activities throughout the Fox Cities, including sorting and tagging items at Appleton’s Bethesda Thrift Store, providing arts programming with students at the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley, packaging, labeling, sorting at the Feeding America food bank and weeding, planting and prepping beds in hoop houses at Riverview Gardens.

In addition to the off-campus efforts, student spend part of the day involved with on-campus service projects including baking treats for local shelters,
making blankets for community members without housing, writing letters of encouragement to patients going through chemotherapy, creating dog toys and treats for animals at local shelters and making laundry detergent for a local shelter.

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.

Fulfilling the Dream of Opportunity: Annual Community Celebration Honors Life, Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Author and educator Gloria Ladson-Billings will draw parallels between the current youth activism that has emerged across the country and the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr. to confront injustice Monday, Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel as part of the 24th annual community celebration of the American civil rights leader. The event is free and open to the public. A sign language interpreter will be present and a reception follows the program.

Gloria-Ladson-Billings_newsblog
UW-Madison professor Gloria Ladson-Billings will deliver the keynote address at the 24th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

As this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration keynote speaker, Ladson-Billings, the Kellner Family Chair of Urban Education at UW-Madison, presents “More than a Dreamer: Restoring the Radical Tradition of Martin Luther King Jr.”

The event’s program includes music by Lawrence senior Brienne Colston and the Kimberly High School Choir. Four area students will read their winning submissions from the annual Martin Luther King essay contest. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Fulfilling the Dream of Opportunity.”

The annual commemoration of Dr. King’s life and legacy is jointly presented by Lawrence and the organization Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities (formerly known as Toward Community: Unity in Diversity), with the support of The Post-Crescent, numerous Fox Valley organizations, churches and individuals.

Ladson-Billings says society too often sanitizes and romanticizes its heroes.

“In the case of Martin Luther King Jr., we have fallen in love with the notion of him as a dreamer,” she said. “But King was a man of action and recognized the need to confront injustice not merely dream about its eradication someday.”

A scholar on the pedagogical practices of teachers who work successfully with African American students, Ladson-Billings also conducts research on Critical Race Theory applications to education. She is the author of the books “The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children” and “Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms.”

A long-standing member of the NAACP and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Ladson-Billlings’ work as an educator has been recognized with numerous awards, including election to the National Academy of Education, the American Anthropological Association’s George and Louise Spindler Award for ongoing contributions in educational anthropology and an honorary degree from Sweden’s Umeå University.

“Reflecting on this year’s theme, fulfilling the dream of opportunity, I can’t help but wonder if this dream will ever be fulfilled,” said Pa Lee Moua, Lawrence’s assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs. “Unfortunately even today, opportunities are not equal for everyone. Individually, and as a society, we all play a part. In the words of Dr. King, ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’ Change will only happen if we step up, speak up and move forward together. There is no ‘Us’ and ‘Them.’ We complete our communities.”

…King was a man of action and recognized the need to confront
injustice not merely dream about its eradication someday.”
— Gloria Ladson-Billings

“During these trying times, we must remember the dream of Dr. King is far from complete,” said Kathy Flores, chair of the MLK Planning Committee and diversity coordinator for the city of Appleton. “We must continue to remember his legacy by not only honoring him, but continuing the work amidst the struggle for many. As we sing ‘Lift Every Voice,’ the Black National Anthem at this year’s celebration, I hope everyone is moved by the words ‘Let us march on till victory is won.’”

The celebration will recognize three community members.

Nicholas Hoffman, chief curator at the History Museum at the Castle, will receive the annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty-MLK Community Leader Award, which honors an individual who has brought different people in the community together in the spirit of Dr. King. Hoffmann has curated exhibitions on those forgotten in history, including immigrants in “Food: Who We Are, What We Eat,” minorities in “Progressive Appleton” and most recently the history of local African Americans in “Stone of Hope: Black Experiences in the Fox Cities.”

Part of the “Stone of Hope” exhibition will be on display in Shattuck Hall 163 following the program.

•  Amy Xiong, English Language Learner teacher at Kaukauna High School and co-advisor of the KHS Diversity Club, will be the first recipient of the newly established Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Educator Award, which honors individuals who educate people in the spirit of Dr. King. Xiong was chosen for her dedication in going above and beyond her assigned duties to ensure all students are given equal, and a wide range of diverse, educational opportunities.

Rev. Roger Bertschausen, senior minister at Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and founder of the annual MLK Celebration, will be recognized for his 25 years of service with a special legacy award. Bertschausen is relocating to St. Louis later this year.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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.