Celebrations planned next week for MLK day

On Jan. 20, the University will hold a Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Program in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event will run from 8:30a.m. to 10 a.m. in 202A Lenhart Grand Ballroom in the student union.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration program will feature guest speakers Kevin Powell and Shenikwa Stratford.

Powell is a poet, journalist, essayist, hip-hop historian and television, radio and Internet commentator. Powell?s writing has appeared in publications such as Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Essence and The Washington Post, among others.

Although Powell is an acclaimed writer, he may be best known for his stint as a cast member on the first season of MTV?s The Real World [New York City]. Powell also attended Rutgers University in the mid-to-late 1980s, where he studied political science and English.

Stratford is a morning anchor and general assignment reporter for NBC 24 Toledo. Stratford?s work history includes being a Capital Hill Reporter for the Bureau of National Affairs in Washington D.C. and a writer and producer at the Fox News Channel in New York City among other career titles. Stratford is involved with the National Association of Black Journalists and the Northwest Ohio Black Media Association. Stratford has also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Howard University.

James Jackson, coordinator of multicultural programs said, ?This is the first attempt in a while for the University to come up with Martin Luther King Day activities. I hope students will come out and enjoy the activities.?

?We hope to have 200 to 250 people in attendance. Everyone is welcome to come to the event,? Heather Bishara, program coordinator at the Office of Campus Involvement said. The Office of Campus Involvement and the Center for Multicultural and Academic Initiatives are just two of the sponsors for this year?s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

?Mr. Powell offers a good perspective on today?s society,? Bishara said.

Those attending the event will hear Powell and Stratford speak about how Dr. King?s life and legacy are relevant to today?s world. Stratford will also talk about her experience of being an African American woman in the news media.

The event is free. A light continental breakfast will also be served to those in attendance. The event is sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, the offices of Campus Involvement, Multicultural and Academic Initiatives, Residence Life and the Vice President for Student Affairs. For more information about the event call the Office of Campus Involvement at 419-372-2343.

By Carrie Whitaker

Managing Editor

To Sharonda Glover, president of the Black Student Union, Martin Luther King Day is not just a day students don?t have class.

To Glover, it is a day of remembrance ? a day to honor the life of an influencial person in history.

To celebrate his life, Glover and BSU has organized a free event on Monday including lunch and a play in the Multipurpose Room of the Union.

The event is free to all students and faculty.

Although the total cost of the event is now over $4,000, Glover said it is a small price to pay to honor King?s life.

?Dr. King spent the end of his life trying to create a world more like the one we live in now, where we could all go to college together in an integrated system,? Glover said. ?I don?t think his dream has been fully reached, but we can help see it get there.?

In years past, BSU has had the lunch and sponsored a speaker, but Glover and James Jackson, adviser of BSU, said this year they wanted to change the program.

?No one wants to hear a lecture,? Jackson said. ?(A play) could catch the attention of people who may not have originally been interested.?

The play is called ?The Meeting?, and is a fictional tale of a meeting between King and Malcolm X. The play imagines what the men ? King, an advocate of nonviolence and Malcolm X, a believer in getting the job done by any means possible ? would have said to one another.

Glover hopes because the event is free and is planned for 12:30 p.m. instead of the traditional 10 a.m. students will be more open to come.

?We know stu dents don?t want to get up early Monday,? Glover said.

And Glover said she thinks the bottom line is deeper than getting free food, it is about being together.

?We really hope this program will open up issues that aren?t dead,? Glover said. ?Students shouldn?t graduate college without understanding the importance of diversity.?