"Creating a Ripple of Hope" - Local MLK celebration starts Monday at Fairfield University



Image: Jerry StreetsCommemorated annually on the third Monday in January, event organizers from Fairfield University will host a weeklong celebration spotlighting the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from Jan. 17-21. The five-day program begins Monday at 5:30 p.m. with a special theme dinner for university students. Unique entrees based on their international flavor, will be featured on the menu. The University Jazz Ensemble will provide music.

Remembered as one of the world's greatest advocates for peace, equality and justice, school officials said the theme of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s ideals would live on through the university-wide celebration.

Other events scheduled include:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 6 p.m. Fairfield University's Poetry for Peace contest. Student contest winners from Bridgeport and Fairfield schools in grades K-8 will gather to read and share their poems about peace.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. Multi-Faith Celebration of Diversity. An inspirational gathering featuring music and readings by students from diverse religious backgrounds. Followed by a Peace Festival at 8 p.m.
in the Barone Campus Center. Live student performances and refreshments. A limited supply of t-shirts will be handed out to the first people who arrive to the event. The public is welcome to attend.

The major event of the week entitled "Creating a Ripple of Hope; The 2011 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance Human Rights Convocation" will be on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 3 p.m. with keynote speaker Rev. Frederick "Jerry" Streets - Yale University's first African American and Baptist chaplain. Well known for his ongoing clinical and pastoral work in the Bridgeport and New Haven communities, Streets is the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor in Pastoral Care at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. He also served as the senior pastor at Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport from 1975-1992. A native of Chicago, Streets received a master's degree from Yale Divinity School, and master's degree and Ph.D. from Yeshiva University.

The evening activities will start at 6 p.m. with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Vision Awards dinner honoring individuals who exemplify the virtues of Dr. King; followed by the announcement of the Connecticut Post-Fairfield University Essay Contest winners for middle school students in Bridgeport.

On Friday, Jan. 21, the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration ends with a Youth Leadership Workshop for middle school students from Bridgeport and Fairfield; followed by the movie presentation of "RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope." A panel discussion will be held after the movie.

For more information contact Ellen Umansky, professor of religious studies at (203) 254-4000 ext. 2065 or Fred Kuo, associate director of university activities at
(203) 254-4000 ext. 3733.

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Media Contact: Mark Gregorio, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, mgregorio1@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 14, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 167