Tag: Martin Luther King celebration

Speaker puts focus on King’s “radical” message; students reach out in service

Rev. Sekou leads the audience in song during Monday's MLK Celebration at Memorial Chapel.
Rev. Sekou performs Monday during the 29th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Memorial Chapel. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University faculty, students, and staff honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a day of service on Monday.

No classes were held on the federal holiday honoring the civil rights icon, but Lawrence again provided a bevy of volunteer and learning opportunities around King’s life and message. The day was topped off with the 29th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Memorial Chapel, an event co-sponsored by Lawrence and African Heritage Inc.

A community celebration

Simon Balto gestures with his hands as he speaks during Monday's MLK Celebration at Memorial Chapel.
Simon Balto gives his address, “Restoring the Radical King,” during Monday’s 29th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Memorial Chapel.

The evening event featured keynote speaker Simon Balto, an assistant professor of history and African American studies at the University of Iowa and author of the book, Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power.

He implored the audience not to lose sight of the radical mission of King, not to be lulled into complacency by a modern caricature that allows politicians and others to tap into benign visions of King that they believe can impart feel-good messages.

“We treat him now like this bundle of sound bites and remember him as a lovable man with little more than a kumbaya dream of a colorblind society,” Balto said. “People, and politicians in particular, seem to think that King can be whatever they want him to have been.”

He was so much more than that, Balto said. There’s a reason that a Gallup poll in 1966 found that only 32% of Americans had a positive view of King. He sought radical change. He made people uncomfortable. And that was a good thing.

“Martin Luther King was a radical,” Balto said. “People often think of the word radical as if it is pejorative or scary. But we shouldn’t think that way.”

It’s about “challenging the status quo at a fundamental level,” he said.

King and others in the civil rights movement successfully took down Jim Crow laws in the south, ending legalized segregation. But that, Balto said, was only one phase. The next phase — fighting racism that was built into the very fabric of the nation — would prove far more difficult. It’s a battle that continues today even as we honor the great accomplishments of King.

“Yes, Dr. King did want an end to racial discrimination, but he also knew that simply ending the Jim Crow system was not going to do it,” Balto said. “He knew that racism was manifested in all sorts of different ways … and not just in the south. He knew it was baked into the housing policies in places like Milwaukee and Chicago and Los Angeles. … He knew it was baked into the ways of the criminal justice system and how it treated black people. He knew it was in the school system and the labor market, in all sorts of places the civil rights movement that had vanquished Jim Crow in the south hadn’t fixed.”

King told his followers that the new battle would be more difficult, in large part because it came with a much higher price tag for the nation, one that would run into the billions of dollars and require the transformation of many of the tenets of society, Balto said. It was an uphill fight, and remains so today.

“People died pursuing it,” Balto said. “Indeed, Dr. King died pursuing it.”

Memorial Chapel is mostly full as Lawrence student Kyree Allen sings during Monday's MLK event.
Kyree Allen ’23 sings “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during Monday’s Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Memorial Chapel.

Also at Monday’s King Celebration event, Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, a musician, filmmaker, and theologian, led a rousing music portion of the program. The annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty MLK Community Leader Award was presented to Carla A. Manns, a local author, business owner, and community leader. And Pa Lee Moua, formerly an associate dean of students for diversity at Lawrence and now the Appleton Area School District’s diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Educator Award.

Special video tributes were given to recently departed community leaders Ronald Dunlap and Henry Golde.

Day of service activities

Nearly 400 Lawrence students, faculty, and staff took part in community outreach activities or participated in teach-ins Monday in honor of King’s legacy. With no classes being held, it was designated as a day of service.

Nearly 150 volunteers supported communities across the Fox Cities through service at Riverview Gardens, the Fox Valley Humane Association, Feeding America, Brewster Village, and the Boys and Girls Clubs in Appleton and Menasha. Another 155 attended a half dozen teach-ins that ranged from being actively engaged in anti-racism advocacy to addressing stigma and disparity within mental health treatment.

“We were very impressed by the interest from the Lawrence campus,” said Kristi Hill, director of Lawrence’s Center for Community Engagement and Social Change. “We are hopeful that we provided a variety of offerings around learning, volunteering, and celebrating.”

Students load mulch into a wheelbarrow at Riverview Gardens.
Students load mulch to be placed in hoop houses at Riverview Gardens during Monday’s MLK Day of Service. (Photo by Liz Boutelle)

At Riverview Gardens, an Appleton nonprofit that uses urban farming as a means to produce food and provide job training for struggling populations, nearly 25 students took to the fields on a cold afternoon to place mulch into hoop houses and do other chores, all aimed at prepping the farm for spring planting.

“Riverview Gardens is a really great organization because they work with job skills training for homeless and disadvantaged communities,” said Floreal Crubaugh ’20. “That’s really important for our day of service.”

She and many of the other volunteers she was working with are members of the student organization that tends to the Lawrence University Sustainable Garden (SLUG), so the outreach to Riverview Gardens was particularly close to the heart.

“We’re a club that’s really organized around community service and volunteering,” Crubaugh said. “This really meshed well with our mission of giving our time and giving our skills to the community.”

It’s work that was much appreciated by the workers who tend to the needs of Riverview Gardens on a daily basis.

“This helps us prepare for our spring planting,” said Elisse Pavletich, the farm manager. “They are putting mulch in a lot of our hoop houses, which will prevent weeds from growing in those places and it gives us a lot more time to focus on the vegetables in spring, which then helps us to help more people.”

Lawrence students sit with cats at the Fox Valley Humane Association during the MLK Day of Service on Monday.
Lawrence students socialize with cats while volunteering at the Fox Valley Humane Association Monday during Lawrence’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

At the Fox Valley Humane Association, a team of Lawrence volunteers focused on cleaning the facility, doing laundry, and stocking shelves before turning their attention to interaction with the animals that are currently calling the shelter home.

“I find working with animals incredibly important,” said Sara Prostko ’20. “They are a population that cannot say their needs, they don’t have a say in their environment, where they go, who they’re with.

“Lawrence is all about trying to be a voice for those who cannot have a voice for themselves. I think this is exactly that. … We’re doing a lot of cleaning and sorting of stuff, things that I’d rather us volunteers do rather than employees so they can spend their time and efforts on things to expand the organization.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

MLK Celebration highlights 9 big events on Lawrence campus during winter term

MLK essay contest winners are introduced during last year's Martin Luther King Celebration at Memorial Chapel.
The 29th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration returns to Memorial Chapel on Jan. 20.

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

Ice skates, gloves, and the warmest of hats are all part of winter term at Lawrence. It might be getting cold out there, but don’t forget that winter term on campus also is a magical time. 

There are fun things to do all over campus (skating on Ormsby Lake, anyone?). That includes the events calendar, which gets particularly robust in winter term. Here are nine exciting things happening on campus this winter term, beginning with Monday’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.    

1. MLK outreach and celebration

Every year the Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (CCE) hosts a day of service in honor of King. As Lawrentians take time out of their classes to recognize the great work of MLK, the CCE provides a space for Lawrentians to give back to their community and learn about King’s legacy. The full list of events happening on MLK Day is available on the CCE section of the Lawrence web site.  

To wrap up the day, the 29th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, co-sponsored by Lawrence and African Heritage Inc., will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Memorial Chapel.

Dr. Simon Balto, an assistant professor of history and African American studies at the University of Iowa, will deliver the keynote address. It also will feature the music of Rev. Sekou.

Balto holds a degree from the University of Wisconsin. He wrote the book, “Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power,” and his writing has appeared in TIME magazine, the Washington Post, and other popular and scholarly outlets.

The event also will feature tributes to the late Ronald Dunlap and Henry Golde. MLK youth essay contest winners will be honored, and the recipient of the annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty MLK Community Leader Award will be announced.

2. Great Midwest Trivia Contest 

What has been fun, trivial, exhausting, and ongoing at Lawrence since 1966? That is correct, the Great Midwest Trivia Contest. It’s billed as the world’s longest running trivia contest because of its tradition of having the final question of the contest serve as the first question of next year’s contest. This year is no different, with the much-anticipated trivia contest starting Jan. 24 at precisely 10:00:37 p.m. and ending at midnight on Jan 26. Find details here.

3. Lunar New Year 

A table at last year's Lunar New Year draws visitors.
Lunar New Year, an annual celebration on campus, returns Jan. 25.

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, various clubs on campus host a Lunar New Year Celebration each winter termThe event features food, music, performances and information on different Lunar New Year Celebrations around the world. This year’s celebration will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Warch Campus Center. Cultural performances include traditional lion dance (Tay Phuong Lions from Savage, Minnesota), Japanese Taiko drummers (Taikoza from New York City) and Hmong dancers Nkauj Suab Nag (Gao Shoua Nah from Appleton). There also will be a Cultural Expo with educational activity booths sponsored by student organizations: Chinese Student Association, Japanese Student Group, Korean Culture Club, Pan-Asian Organization, Vietnamese Cultural Organization, and more. Find information here.

4. Winter Carnival and President’s Ball 

Gingerbread competitions are back as part of Winter Carnival.

No need to hide from winter. Let’s embrace it. The week-long Winter Carnival concludes with the annual President’s Ball in the Warch Campus Center on Feb. 1. Every year the Student Organization for University Programming (SOUP) hosts the picture-perfect President’s Ball. It gives all Lawrentians — students, faculty, and staff — the opportunity to enjoy live music, take photos in the photo booth, and get on the dance floor. Winter Carnival, meanwhile, kicks off Jan. 27 and runs through Feb. 2, featuring activities ranging from a scavenger hunt to a ping pong tournament to a ski outing to broomball games on Ormsby Lake to a gingerbread house competition. It’s highlighted by the President’s Ball on the evening of Feb. 1. A day of service follows on Feb. 2. Details can be found here.  

5. Jazz Series concert featuring Bill Frisell 

Music starts to heat up winter term in February. Guitarist, composer, and arranger Bill Frisell will be gracing the Lawrence campus as part of the ongoing Jazz Series. Frisell has been recognized for his unique sound as he transforms the modern guitar. Frisell and friends will be in concert at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at Memorial Chapel. For more on the Jazz Series (and other 2019-20 music series at Lawrence), see here.

6. Richard III on stage 

Winter term isn’t complete without a production from the Theatre Arts department. Richard lll, by William Shakespeare, will take the stage at Cloak Theatre for four performances from Feb. 20 to 22. It is directed by Timothy X. Troy. Visit here for more details on this show and others in the 2019-20 season.

7. Artist Series concert featuring Tine Thing Helseth 

Here’s another big concert happening in winter term, this one as part of the Artist Series. It’ll feature Norwegian trumpet virtuoso Tine Thing Helseth. She has established herself as one of the foremost trumpet soloists of our time. The performance is set for 8 p.m. on Feb. 28. More details can be found here.

8. Cultural Expressions

Students perform on stage during last year's Cultural Expressions.
Cultural Expressions is a winter term highlight. It’s back on Feb. 29.

The Lawrence University Black Student Union hosts an annual Black History Month Celebration called Cultural Expressions. It offers a space for members of the Black Student Union to showcase their talents — everything from music to dance to spoken word — to the entire Lawrence and Appleton communities. This year’s Cultural Expressions will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 29 in Warch Campus Center. See the calendar on the Lawrence web site for more information.

9. Opera takes center stage 

Opera is a huge part of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, and the annual opera is must-see viewing on campus. This winter term performance will feature Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, set for March 5 through March 8 in Stansbury Theater. Check the calendar for show times. 

Awa Badiane ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.

“Why Keep Dreaming? A Time for Action” Focus of Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration

Logo of Dr. Martin Luther King Community CelebrationThe 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration will feature a day of service and learning for Lawrence University students, culminating in a powerful message of action through unity from Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. A leading expert on diversity and privilege, Moore is a dynamic speaker and educator who leads his audience in interactive, fun, challenging and informative presentations. The celebration will also include musical performances, readings from student essay contest winners, and the presentation of community awards.

The celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy will be held Monday, Jan. 21 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.

In addition to Dr. Moore’s presentation, Fox Cities community members will be presented with the 25th annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty Community Leader Award and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educator Award. This year’s recipients will be honored at a reception immediately following the program in Shattuck Hall 163 on the Lawrence campus.

The three local winners of the annual MLK student essay contest will also read their award-winning essays. This year’s winning student essayists are:

  • Feyikami Delano-Oriaran, 2nd grade, Classical School Appleton
  • Lilyanna Pieper, 6th grade, Huntley Elementary
  • Catlin Yang, 12th grade, Kimberly High School

In addition to the evening celebration, the Lawrence community will continue its tradition of engaging in a day of service through a variety of events:

  • The OxFam Hunger Banquet, sponsored by the LU Food Recovery Network, will kick off the day at 10:30 a.m. in the Warch Campus Center.  The LU Food Recovery Network will lead an interactive hands-on activity highlighting the issues and laws that keep people trapped in poverty.
  • At 1 p.m., students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to volunteer at community organizations throughout the Fox Cities including Feeding America, the Menasha and Fox Valley Boys and Girls Clubs, and Riverview Gardens. These student-led initiatives benefit the community and help Lawrentians solidify the value of service learning.
  • Informal teach-in sessions, where faculty provide expert insights into community issues that impact equality for will take place across campus between 1 and 4 p.m. Topics include “Hunger and Health in a Wealthy Nation” and “The Global Climate Justice Movement,” among others.

More information regarding the MLK, Jr. Day of Service can be found at http://www.lawrence.edu/students/volunteer/mlk.

Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration Focuses on “Building a Just World”

Rev. Wanda Washington, founding pastor of Grace United Church of Christ in Milwaukee, makes an encore appearance as the keynote speaker at the 22nd annual Martin Luther King Jr., community celebration of the late civil rights leader Monday, Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.  The event is free and open to the public.

Rev. Wanda Washington

Presented by Lawrence University and Toward Community: Unity in Diversity, with the support of numerous Fox Valley organizations, churches, and individuals, this year’s celebration features the theme “Building a Just World.” The Post-Crescent and The Avenue 91.1 are media sponsors of the event.

“Lawrence University is pleased and honored to once again welcome the Fox Cities community to Memorial Chapel for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. event,” said Nancy Truesdell, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “Our students, faculty and staff will spend the day engaged in service projects and small group book discussions that will culminate in the evening celebration focused on the topic of building a just world. It remains so important that members of our community come together to remember the work and teachings of Dr. King so that his message of social justice and peace is carried on through young and old alike.”

Washington, who also delivered the 2010 MLK Jr. celebration keynote address, will use the movie “Shawshank Redemption” as a backdrop for this year’s remarks entitled “Hope is a Dangerous Thing.”  She will discuss the importance of “tunneling through today’s challenges” and always remaining hopeful no matter how difficult a situation may be.

Called to the Ministry

Born and raised in Chicago, Washington spent 20 years as a special education teacher in Illinois, working with deaf-blind students at the Philip J. Rock Center. In 1986, she left her position as educational supervisor to accept a call to ministry, enrolling in the Chicago Theological Seminary where she earned a Master’s of Divinity degree.

Ordained in 1993, Washington served as associate pastor and director of pastoral services at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ for 13 years, assisting families with funeral services, participating in weekly worship services, including preaching in the absence of the senior pastor and supervising more than 100 “ministers in training” who were attending seminary.

Washington followed another call in the spring of 2006, moving to Milwaukee to tackle the challenge of starting a new church. She became the founding pastor of Grace United Church of Christ, a position she held until retiring in 2012 and moving to Indianapolis to be near her grandchildren.

In addition to her divinity degree, Washington earned a bachelor’s degree from MacMurray College and a master’s degree from Ohio State University.

“The life and legacy of Dr. King challenges each and every one of us to help build a more just and peaceful world in our communities, workplaces, neighborhoods and families,” said Kathy Flores, chair of the MLK Planning Committee and diversity coordinator for the city of Appleton. “Rev. Washington returns by popular demand and I expect she’ll deliver another rousing, inspiring and thoughtful message. Like Dr. King, Rev. Washington has used her ministry as a voice to help build a just world.”

Annual Diversity Award

As part of the celebration, Toward Community will present its annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty Unity in Diversity Award, which recognizes an area individual who has made great strides in bringing different people in the community together. Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna was the 2012 recipient.

Four area students will be recognized as winners of the annual Martin Luther King essay contest and will read their winning entries while Lawrence junior Zoie Reams and university organist Kathrine Hanford will provide musical performances.

This year’s celebration also will feature a special tribute honoring Dr. G. Manns, a local pastor, community leader and long-time volunteer in the annual MLK celebration, who passed away Jan. 8.

A tireless advocate for racial and social justice, children and all marginalized people in the community, Manns was the founder and senior pastor of Appleton Sanctuary Outreach Ministries. She founded and served as CEO of B.A.B.E.S. Respite & Counseling Services, a child abuse prevention program that provides support for young parents. She was a founding member of Toward Community: Unity in Diversity, worked with African Heritage, Inc. and was a past board member of Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs.

A sign language interpreter will be present for the program and a reception for all in attendance will be held following the event.

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 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Annual Community Celebration Honors Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life, Legacy

Dorothy Cotton, the only female member of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s, executive staff and one of his closest confidants, delivers the keynote address at the 21st annual community celebration of the late civil rights leader Monday, Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.  The event is free and open to the public.

Dorothy Cotton

With the theme “Martin Luther King Jr.:  This Life and Legacy,” the celebration is presented by Lawrence University and Toward Community: Unity in Diversity with the support of numerous Fox Valley organizations, churches and individuals. The Post-Crescent is a media partner for the event.

The community celebration is in conjunction with Lawrence’s annual Martin Luther King “Day of Service,” which offers volunteer opportunities for students, faculty and staff.  Part of this year’s activities includes a report on the recent “Life Study of the Fox Cities” at 11:30 a.m. in the Warch Campus Center.

“Everyone wants to leave his or her own mark on the world as we strive to live a meaningful and purposeful life,” said Pa Lee Moua, assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs at Lawrence.  “Once we are gone, we hope to be remembered as heroes. In my opinion, there is no greater hero than someone who fights for the rights of others. Martin Luther King Jr. is truly a hero who continues to teach us the true meaning of love, peace and social justice.

Moua credits her father for instilling in her many of the values embraced by Dr. King.

“As a very influential man in my life, my father told me, ‘Respect and reputation doesn’t come from being too rich, educated, or powerful; it comes from being a humanitarian. You will never regret giving your time to someone in need. And as you grow older, you will look back and forever cherish these experiences because you will have already made your mark on the world.’”

Cotton began making her mark in the early 1960s as the education director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where she provided training for the disenfranchised on the importance of political participation, voter registration and nonviolent protest. In 1964, she accompanied King to Oslo, Norway, where he was presented the Nobel Peace Prize. Following King’s assassination, she served as the vice president for field operations for the Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and became Southern Regional Director for ACTION, the federal agency for volunteer programs.

A native of North Carolina, Cotton has addressed issues of race relations, multiculturalism/diversity, personal development and nonviolence education around the world. Following more than 20 years engaged in civil rights activities, Cotton spent 10 years as director of student activities at Cornell University. She also is one of the founding members of the National Citizenship School, which focuses creating publicly accountable institutions that reflect high democratic ideals and support individual capacity to live a meaningful life.

“Having Ms. Cotton as our keynote speaker is a rare and rich opportunity for the Fox Valley,” said Kathy Flores, chair of the MLK Planning Committee and diversity coordinator for the city of Appleton. “While many people participated in marches during the Civil Rights era, Ms. Cotton had the honor of working side-by-side with Dr. King as a member of his staff. We hope many members of the community take advantage of her appearance and come hear her share her real-life experiences with us.”

In addition to Cotton’s remarks, the King celebration will feature the presentation of the annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty Unity in Diversity Award. Given by Toward Community, the award honors an area individual who has made great strides in bringing different people in the community together.

The celebration also features readings by area student winners of the annual Martin Luther King essay contest and musical performances led by Tim and Ezra Dorsey and 2008 Lawrence graduate Erica Hamilton.

A sign language interpreter will be present for the program and a reception for all in attendance follows the event.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. For more information visit www.lawrence.edu or follow us on Facebook.