Tributes to King focus on injustice
The idea of fighting injustice may seem straightforward, but it can take on many forms and even sound quite different at times.
That is especially true this year at the University, where students, faculty, and staff are taking part in a series of events that pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.
Titled “Linked Fate: ‘Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere’,” the program features talks, film screenings, and an art exhibition that examine historic and contemporary civil rights struggles around the world. The events culminate with the Martin Luther King Commemorative Address featuring the Rev. Jesse Jackson on Friday, January 26, in Strong Auditorium at 4 p.m.
Jackson, an activist who focuses on human rights issues and on promoting economic and social justice, worked with King at the Southern Leadership Conference in the mid-1960s. His talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the College Diversity Roundtable and the Office of the President. The commemorative address was instituted in 2001 to promote issues of diversity, freedom, civil rights, and social justice.
“This year’s theme of linked fate certainly speaks to Martin Luther King’s beliefs. We think of him in the civil rights movement but his dream was for the world,” says Ben Ebenhack, senior lecturer in chemical engineering.
Ebenhack will examine the injustices surrounding energy and its availability globally during a presentation at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 22, in Hoyt Auditorium. The talk is one example of the broad nature of events this year commemorating King. Offering multiple perspectives on King’s message of nonviolence and justice was the goal of student groups such as the Pride Network, the Black Students’ Union, and Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity who helped develop the program.
“It just kind of evolved,” says Kelly Clark, cochair of MLK Commemorative Address Committee. “The theme really struck a chord with the campus. To have it interpreted in so many ways is very impressive.”
The F Word : Images of Fovgiveness is on view through January 31 in the Interfaith Chapel.
The committee was instrumental in bringing The F Word: Images of Forgiveness to the River Campus. The international traveling exhibition features photographs and narratives of people whose lives were affected by violence, tragedy, or injustice, but who rejected revenge in favor of reconciliation.
Clark says the thought-provoking exhibit will offer viewers an opportunity to reflect on stories that, although seemingly unrelated, illustrate King’s tenet of peace and good will.
Marquis Harrison ’07, who also cochairs the committee, says that although the idea of “linked fate” took on many different manifestations, the mission remained the same.
“We have a bigger duty to look out for our fellow human beings. That’s something that I hope students will take away from this Martin Luther King celebration week,” Harrison adds.
While the University will continue to pay tribute to King in the years ahead through sponsored programs, President Seligman recently announced that starting in 2008 the University also will cancel classes in all six schools on Martin Luther King Day to allow students to take advantage of activities and events.
For details about this year’s program honoring King, visit www.rochester.edu/news/MLK.