'Remember The Dream - It's Our Time To Act:' MLK Celebration at Fairfield University



Image: Herman BooneRemembered as one of the world's greatest advocates for social justice, equality and peace, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s values will live on through a campus-wide celebration at Fairfield University January 17-27.

Event organizers from Fairfield University will host a celebration spotlighting the life and achievements of Dr. King that will include eight events - the most ever at Fairfield in honor of the civil rights leader.

The major event, the MLK Convocation, will take place on Thursday, January 26, at 3 p.m. with keynote speaker Herman Boone, an inspirational high school football coach portrayed by Denzel Washington in the Disney film, 'Remember the Titans.' Free and open to the public, it will be held in the Quick Center for the Arts.

"Coach Boone has lessons to teach all of us," said Fred J. Kuo, associate director of University Activities and co-chair of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observerance Committee. "We feel his moving story will be one that will be of tremendous interest to the greater community."

In 1971, racial tensions ran high at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, as three schools merged to form a newly integrated one, event organizers said. Out of this experience an inspiring story emerged and an undefeated football team was born. After replacing local favorite and successful coach Bill Yoast of the formerly all-white Hammond High to become head coach of the Titans, Boone faced the challenge of a lifetime. After putting their prejudices aside, he and Yoast worked together to unify the team whose former rivalry was only exacerbated by the strain between the black and white players.

Several activities will be held specifically for area schoolchildren. "We hope that these events not only educate children about Dr. King's mission but inspire them too," said Ellen M. Umansky, Ph.D., director of Fairfield's Bennett Center for Judaic Studies and co-chair of the MLK committee.

Student contest winners from Bridgeport and Fairfield schools in grades K-8 will gather to read and share their poems about peace at Poetry for Peace, on Thursday, January 19 in the Kelley Center Presentation Room, at 6 p.m. As part of the MLK Day of Service, on Tuesday, January 24, University athletes will be working with students from after school programs in Bridgeport. They will be participating in a variety of sports in the campus RecPlex.

Another event for Bridgeport students will be the annual MLK Vision Awards Dinner, on Thursday, January 26 at 6 p.m., in the Barone Campus Center Oak Room. The evening activities will honor individuals at the University who exemplify the virtues of Dr. King, followed by the announcement of the winners of the Connecticut Post-Fairfield University Essay Contest between schools in Bridgeport. On Friday, Jan. 27, the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration ends with a Youth Leadership Workshop for middle school students from Bridgeport and Fairfield, in the Barone Campus Center at 9 a.m.

Other events include:

  • Friday, January 20: Friday Night Movie Series: 'Remember the Titans.' Gonzaga Auditorium at 10 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 25: Students in Action Service Fair, Barone Campus Center, Lower Level, noon to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 25: The Peace Festival celebration, Barone Campus Center, 7:30 p.m.

Image: Fairfield University's MLK Convocation will take place on Thursday, January 26, at 3 p.m. with keynote speaker Herman Boone, an inspirational high school football coach portrayed by Denzel Washington in the Disney film, 'Remember the Titans.'

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 17, 2011

Vol. 44, No. 128