Students celebrate life and unity during MLK Jr. Week events

A week of activities and events starting on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday encourage students to get involved during their day out of the classroom.

D'Wayne Jenkins, assistant director of cultural programming, said Central Michigan University's MLK Jr. Week is about getting students to make a difference on the holiday.

"We want people to take a step back and think about the service they can do with that time off," the St. Louis native said. "There are plenty of things we can do to help better the community and the university."

MLK Jr. Week kicks off at 10 a.m. Monday with the "CommUNITY Peace Brunch" at the Small Sports Forum in the Student Activity Center. Robert Newby, a retired sociology professor at the university, will be presenting a keynote address during the brunch.

The meal also features musical performances by Fish N Chips and the Christ Central Choir, as well as speeches from the three finalists in the university's MLK Jr. Oratorical Contest.

The Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center is also hosting a Day of Service event in honor of MLK Jr. After meeting in the Bovee University Center at noon, the volunteer groups will go out into the community and work on service projects until 2 p.m.

Eight different service projects will be offered for the Day of Service, said Gretchen Wilt, a member of the volunteer center's special events committee.

"Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that the greatest question in life is 'what are you doing for others?'" the Romeo senior said. "Working on a service project is a great way to honor his memory."

Around 150 students participated in the 2013 Day of Service and they anticipate a similar turnout this year, said Jason Vasquez, a Wyoming graduate assistant.

The MLK Peace March and Vigil will begin at the U.C. Rotunda Room at 3 p.m. The students plan to march across campus and into downtown Mount Pleasant, where they will conclude with a candle light vigil at 5 p.m.

A week of remembrance 

On Tuesday, Little Rock Nine member Minniejean Brown-Trickey will be speaking at Plachta Auditorium in Warriner Hall at 7 p.m. Brown-Trickey's speech, presented by the CMU Program Board, will delve into her role and experiences in the Civil Rights Movement.

New to MLK Jr. Week this year is the MLK Student vs. Faculty Charity Basketball Game on Friday. The game is being held at 6 p.m. at the SAC with admission for $2 or a donation of canned goods. All proceeds go to the Isabella Community Soup Kitchen.

The last event for MLK Week is the 21st Annual Unity Ball on Saturday at the U.C. The dinner, held at 6 p.m., will be accompanied with a theatrical performance of the stage play "The Meeting"


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