Martin Luther King, Jr. Beloved Community Celebration–“His Past. Your Future. One Dream.”

Julia Mueller
January 17, 2014

MLK, Jr. events, King Walk, 1988

MLK, Jr. events, King Walk, 1988

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Beloved Community Celebration at Elon
University commemorates the life and service of MLK, Jr. It also celebrates tolerance and diversity on campus. Elon Teaching Fellows, DEEP, the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, the Multicultural Center, the Black Cultural Society, the National Panhellenic Council, the Office of Student Activities, and the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life organized the 2014 program.

Multiple events occur the week before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Students, faculty, and staff read excerpts of speeches by MLK, Jr. to encourage social justice and remember Dr. King’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. At a special College Coffee, multiculturalism is highlighted. Later in the week, a multi-faith service is held to remember King’s work as a religious leader. Difficult Dialogue is another commemorative tradition that allows students to consider social justice efforts on local, national, and international levels. The 2014 theme for this event was “Continuing the Spirit of Social Justice.”

The Beloved Community MLK, Jr. Day of Service is a chance for students to volunteer at local non-profit organizations. Many other events take place in Burlington and surrounding areas. In previous years, luncheons, dramatic productions, memorial services, and candlelight vigils also celebrated the vision and life of Dr. King. A series of speakers visit Elon throughout the week. Previous speakers include Charles Becton, Dion Jordan, Kevin Powell, Joe Rogers, and Harvey B. Gantt. Presentation topics pertain to civil rights and social tolerance. This year’s speakers are William A. Darity, Jr., Douglas Foster, and Patricia J. Williams.

At the end of the week, the MLK, Jr. Humanitarian Essay Contest winners are announced. The contest was established in 2001 for Alamance County middle-school students. Their task is to write how their involvement exemplifies ideals of MLK, Jr. Mr. Elliot Jeffries Lynch, the 2005 essay contest winner, wrote,
“I am proud of my accomplishments and I try to live up the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. by taking advantage of the opportunities that are available to me. If I strive to be all that I can be, Dr. King’s fight for racial equality and equal opportunity will not be wasted.”

In 2010, a separate category was designed for Elon students. More information about the 2014 program can be found at http://www.elon.edu/e-net/Article/84252.

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