Martin Luther King, Jr. has been a household name and American hero since he delivered his legendary “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in front of thousands of people during the March on Washington in 1963.
At BC, different clubs and programs united to help plan a weeklong celebration in order to commemorate King’s birthday and his influential work for civil rights during the 1950s and 1960s.
The celebration will run from Jan. 11 to 15, and events are planned for each day. The national Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is on Jan. 18.
The Black Student Union has been planning the events since the summer quarter of 2009.
According to Shellton Barnes, Director of the BSU, the program wanted to include other student clubs and programs in the process to plan the events for the MLK celebration.
Consequently, Multicultural Services, Latin American Cultural Club, El Centro Latino, and Associated Student Government have all had a part in planning the events for the week.
A Martin Luther King planning committee was also created in order to help with the events.
The first event was held yesterday in the Library media center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and was sponsored by the BSU.
The event included guest speaker June Harriston, the showing of the film “Stand,” by Tavis Smiley, and finally, two speakers from the Babes organization who spoke about HIV.
Today, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. El Centro Latino and the LACC are hosting a Brown Bag Lunch discussion concerning how King impacted Latinos in the US and social justice in the Latin community.
Scenes from the movie “Walk Out” will also be shown during the event.
The event will be held in C 130 A and B and refreshments will be served.
On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the ASG is holding a potluck at 11:30 a.m. in C 130 A and B followed by a poetry reading in the cafeteria at 12:30 p.m.
MCS, along with the MLK planning committee, is hosting “The Dream in Action” event Thursday, Jan. 14 in the Carlson Theatre, beginning at 9 a.m. Dion Jordan is the featured speaker. A reception will be held after the event in the theatre lobby.
The events are expected to have a good turnout. While BC has held many events for MLK day in the past, “this is going to be the biggest year,” said Barnes.
“The BSU is bigger, we have more resources, and there are more people willing to do the work [to plan the events],” said Barnes.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is most notably recognized for the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the March on Washington, and for being the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts in ending racial discrimination and segregation through non-violent methods.
King is also recognized for his work toward ending poverty and opposing the Vietnam War.
He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
“It is important to remember our history,” said Barnes. “Martin King didn’t just speak on black rights, but civil and human rights. We should always remember what Martin King stood for. He has brought the best out of all of us.”
Barnes also added, “We’d appreciate it if [the students] showed their support by coming [to the events]. A lot of students have worked hard on the project, and this event is for everyone.”
The events are free and open to the entire campus.