King of the hill
For some, Martin Luther King Day is recognized as a day off from school or a break from work. Starting last Sunday, Jan. 20, the Syracuse University community turned the holiday into an entire week dedicated to the civil rights leader and his message.
For the week of Jan. 21-Jan. 25, the SU community sponsored an ‘I Have a Dream Week.’ The Office of Residential Life hosted a weeklong celebration commemorating the life and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Freshman public relations and marketing major Jessica Law enjoyed the festivities but said the event could use some improvements.
‘Overall, I think that it’s a great idea for the university to have a weeklong celebration as it provides more opportunities for students to get involved and celebrate the legacy of Dr. King,’ said Law, in an e-mail. ‘However, I think more [events] should be done on the actual holiday.’
The only event that took place on Martin Luther King Day [Monday, Jan. 21] was a candlelight vigil commemorating King’s legacy, which was followed by a gospel show.
To kick off the week, there was a Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner Symposium. The Symposium featured a performance by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School choir, a speech by Barbara Ransby and the Unsung Hero Awards, which recognizes people who have made a difference in the Syracuse community.
‘At the dinner on Sunday, it seemed as though most students came for the meal and left before the program actually started, which was disappointing to see,’ Law said.
In addition to the Symposium, ‘I Have a Dream Week’ tried to integrate the city of Syracuse with the university to create one large celebration, not just a school affair. For example, artwork from the Franklin Magnet School and Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary school in Syracuse displayed artwork in SU’s Panasci Lounge on Tuesday.
The rest of the activities included a speech by former Southern Christian Leadership Conference member, Dorothy Cotton, a performance by slam poetry group, Poetry to the People and a day of service in which participants traveled to different parts of the city to complete service activities. The week culminated with a cultural exchange dance show, which took place on Friday in Schine Student Center.
‘An event like Poetry to the People definitely brought current issues that the African-American race faces today into the light,’ Law said, who attended Thursday’s show. ‘In a way, it brought the same discontent and hope for a better future that was present during the civil rights movement.’
Freshman biology major, Uchenna Mbawuike enjoyed the festivities overall, especially Ransby’s speech at the Symposium.
‘She [Ransby] said a lot of great messages. For example, during the celebration of MLK we shouldn’t just celebrate him, but should celebrate all the people that were involved in his vision,’ Mbawuike said in an e-mail, ‘We should acknowledge everything he represented.’
‘MLK week at Syracuse was excellent,’ Added Mbawuike. ‘I wasn’t expecting it to be such a large event here, but it was certainly a great surprise.’
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