By AARON YNCLAN, Staff Writer
The University of Michigan-Dearborn will commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with its annual “Martin Luther King Jr. Week.”
“It is a week celebrating the life and the legacy of Dr. King, and his legacy in today’s society,” said Jonathan Larson, Coordinator for LGBTQ and Inclusion Initiatives/Student Organization Supervisor. “There’s different events that span different facets of his legacy, so there’s a movie about his wife and also the wife of Malcolm X. There’s the day of service that is in our 21st year, so kind of turning a ‘day off’ as a national holiday into a ‘day on’ for helping society. So we’re going to almost 30 different locations this year, and some 400 volunteers will be going out.”
Martin Luther King Week will comprise of a number of various events dedicated to Dr. King, including an Elect-Her Campus Women Win session geared towards promoting and teaching female election campaigns, a discussion on the graphic novel “March: Book One” by Congressman John Lewis, and a poetry reading tribute by the Black Student Union and the African & African American Studies Department, as well as the events described by Larson.
“With Dr. King, especially with his involvement in the civil rights movement, it’s making sure that people never [forget] and remember the work that he did,” said Larson.
When asked about the decision to spread Dr. King’s legacy over the course of a week rather than just a day, Larson attributed it to being a better fit to both recognize his accomplishments and accommodate student schedules. “Monday is a day of service and most students aren’t here, and we have almost 9,000 students. So the committee, which was made up of faculty and staff and students, have looked at doing different activities throughout the week so as to make it more robust and make it so we don’t cram it all into one day.”
Though the week is primarily run through various departments, the Black Student Union has been involved with the process as well. “It’s a little hard with student organizations and students because of scheduling, and with meetings you’re having to balance a lot of peoples schedules. But usually it’s primarily driven either through student interest or the events going through faculty/staff. And sometimes student groups want to do different things, so we support them in their areas if they come up with ideas going on.”
Martin Luther King Week began with the 21st Annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 20, and will run through Friday, January 24.