Moravian Celebrates MLK, a 'Futurist Thinker and Monumental American Leader’
In celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. day holiday, Moravian College hosted two heartwarming and introspective programs Jan. 20, beginning with a community scholarship breakfast, featuring 19 well-educated and well-versed fifth-graders from William Penn Elementary School.
During the hour-and-a-half breakfast in the HUB’s Marketplace, sponsored by the Center for Intercultural Advancement, each William Penn student took the stage to share a key note, fact or account of King’s life, as well as the Civil Rights Movement. The timeline traced all the way back to King’s exemplary studies as a child to his profound work as an adult in Birmingham, Ala. (To see photographs from the College's MLK events, click here.)
Two students concluded the William Penn presentation by reading essays they wrote highlighting their heroes. Just as King idolized Mahatma Gandhi, the students cited their mother and Leonardo Da Vinci, , respectively, as their heroes.
The students are taught by William Penn teachers Matthew Salvaterra and Cristy Myers.
Following the presentation, Joel Nathan Rosen, associate professor of sociology, provided remarks, congratulating the students for “going the extra mile” and their willingness to “scream to the rafters” to commemorate King’s life and his beliefs.
ABOVE: Each William Penn student took the stage to share a key note, fact or account of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.
ABOVE: With his fellow faculty members looking on, William Falla (right) speaks at a panel luncheon about King's influence.
At 11 a.m., in the HUB's Snyder Room, Moravian Professors William Falla, Joyce Hinnefeld, Michelle Schmidt and Nicole Tabor served as panelists to discuss their personal and professional reflections on King.
The discussion, sponsored by the Center for Leadership and Service and the Center for Intercultural Advancement, brought forward many talking points, including King’s exceptional writing ability, which Tabor discussed in detail. She cited King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail" throughout her talk. To read it for yourself, click here.
“This is a day to reflect on the actions of a futurist thinker, monumental American leader, and spiritual entrepreneur,” Tabor said. “Most centrally, as a teacher and scholar, today offers the opportunity to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to one of the greatest writers of our time.”
Schmidt talked about King’s emphasis on community service, noting he once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?’” She then noted how her young son has been well educated on his legacy, a heartwarming sign for today's youth. Hinnefeld continued the discussion’s personal feel, recalling the discrimination and lack of diversity she witnessed growing up in rural Indiana. She also touched on the “beautiful use of language” King used to promote his beliefs.
Falla concluded the panel by reading part of King’s sermon, “Loving Your Enemies,” which was delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., in November 1957. Following Falla’s take, the panelists broken into groups for further discussion with those in attendance.
Moravian’s on-campus MLK Day events actually kicked off a day early, hosting a screening of the documentary “The Backyard Philly Project" Jan. 19. The film chronicles the lives of four teens living in "Penn Town," a Philadelphia public housing development blocks from Center City, but in a very different world.
For more information about the screening, visit The Express Times’ article.
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