Fairfield University’s annual commemoration of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. features a series of campus-wide events designed to inspire all to continue on with the important work reflected in the words, writings, and actions of Dr. King.
The theme for the 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance is "Call to Action: The Fierce Urgency of Now."
“For over thirty years, the MLK Celebration has been a cornerstone of programming for Fairfield University to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” stated Carrie Robinson, associate director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and co-chair of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Week Committee. “Through the two weeks of events, as a University community we come together in a variety of ways to do just that. Whether it is MLK’s passion of service and giving back, looking at the past towards what needs to be done here and in the future, and celebrating those who have make change similar to MLK, the University community is able to come together to honor the advocacy work of MLK.”
The 2018 MLK, Jr. Convocation, an integral part of the celebration, will be held on Thursday, February 1 at 8 p.m. at the Quick Center for the Arts where two University community members will be honored with Vision Awards. The lecture is part of the Quick Center’s Open VISIONS Forum. The event is sponsored by Delamar, Moffley Media, TV Eyes, and WSHU Public Radio Group.
This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Awards, given to individuals who exemplify the virtues of Dr. King, are being presented to Kris Sealey, PhD, associate professor of Philosophy and Sophia Bolanos ‘18.
Since joining Fairfield, Dr. Sealey has made a significant impact on the University community. As stated by a nominator, Dr. Sealy “lives out Dr. King’s legacy through her teaching, her scholarship, and her way of being.” She has served as the chair of the Peace and Justice program, mentored students in RJSJ, developed a Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory courses at Fairfield, and has served on the Martin Luther King Committee for the past two years. “Dr. Sealy radiates the love that Dr. King called for in his speeches, in his life work, and through his accomplishments,” stated another nominator. “It is a love that never goes silent and that she exudes across our campus, amongst her colleagues, and with her friends and family.”
A Psychology and Spanish major, Sophia Bolanos ’18 is a member of JUHAN and a resident advisor. During her time at Fairfield, she has demonstrated a passion for social justice. As a JUHAN Fellow, Bolanos has helped guide the student club while bringing to light humanitarian issues around the world with advocacy tables, fundraisers, and simulations. In the words of her nominator, Bolanos “truly embodies Dr. King's vision for a better, more just world. She has demonstrated a passion to help others and an unfaltering dedication to humanitarianism.”
In addition to the Convocation, the committee has planned a series of events to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. These events include:
Rally for Justice
Tuesday, January 23, 4:30 p.m.
Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola
Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Dinner
Wednesday, January 24, 5 p.m.
Barone Campus Center, Oak Room
Presentations of this year’s Vision Awards to three members of the University community will be made at the Convocation. Winners of the essay contest for middle-schoolers will also be recognized. (The contest is co-sponsored by the Connecticut Post.)
The Fierce Urgency of Now: MLK's Vision for the 21st Century
Yohuru Williams, PhD
Wednesday, January 24, 7 p.m.
Barone Campus Center, Dogwoods
Dr. Yohuru Williams, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University will speak. An expert on African American History, Twentieth Century United States History and Social Studies pedagogy, Dr. Williams is the author and editor of several books including Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven (Blackwell, 2006), Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement (Routledge, 2015) and Teaching beyond the Textbook: Six Investigative Strategies (Corwin Press, 2008). He recently co-edited the book The Black Panthers: Portraits of an Unfinished Revolution (Nation Books, 2016) that has received critical acclaim from The New York Times and The Washington Post. He has also appeared as a media expert on many local and national programs including Al Jazeera America, Ebru TV, Fox Business, C-SPAN and NPR, to name a few.
Day of Service: Read A Loud Day
Thursday, January 25
Youth Leadership Academy
Friday, January 26, 9:30 a.m.
Barone Campus Center, Oak Room
Marshall Film Screening
Friday, January 26, 10 p.m.
Day of Service: Thomas Merton Center Food Pantry
Saturday, January 27, All Day
Thomas Merton Center Food Pantry
Sunday, January 28, 7 p.m.
Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola
CARE Team Dialogue: “The Modern Day Civil Rights Movement"
Monday, January 29, 7 p.m.
Barone Campus Center 200
Carrie Robinson, associate director of the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, and Rachelle Brunn-Bevel, assistant professor of Sociology and Anthropology, are co-chairs of this year’s MLK observance, supported by a committee of volunteers. More details about the week are available at Fairfield.edu/mlk.
2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation and Open VISIONS Forum
Freedom: Seeking Justice in America
An Evening with Angela Davis, PhD
Thursday, February 1, 8 p.m.
Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts