ND community will honor King
By TIM LOGAN
The Notre Dame community spent the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday moving in and registering for classes, but next week, the University will sponsor events celebrating King's dream and his legacy.
Highlights of the week will include a talk by University president emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh and a panel discussion of students on diversity at Notre Dame.
Organizers hope events will help students gain an appreciation for King's message and an understanding of its timelessness.
"We want to keep the movement alive," said Priscilla Wong, chair of the MLK celebration planning committee. "By celebrating the holiday we hope to do that. The issues may change. The ways of doing this may change, but the light is still there."
Hesburgh, a former member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, will speak of his personal involvement in the movement and his relationship with King. He will also give his perception of what it's like to be a minority student at Notre Dame and of the current state of diversity at the University.
Wong said she hopes Hesburgh's stature in the community will help draw students and bring the movement closer to home.
The Wednesday night panel discussion will gather a group of students with different backgrounds who will tell their stories about awareness of diversity, organizers said. It is based on a similar discussion that took place last January about diversity at Notre Dame.
"We're going to have people share their stories," Wong said. The discussion was one of the highlights of last year's King celebration. It is co-sponsored by the Student Union.
The week will culminate Thursday evening in a prayer service and procession down North Quad.
"Prayer is the part that brings us all together," Wong said. The service will be open to all, she said, and will take place in Keenan-Stanford Chapel.
The planning committee is made up of a collection of students and administrators from across campus. They have worked since September to plan the week-long celebration.
Organizers hope events will expose students to issues of diversity on campus and in the world around them, and will help them to see the broad nature of King's message.
"It offers Notre Dame students an opportunity not only to experience the progress of race relations at Notre Dame but also see that in the context of that progress in U.S. and the world," said freshman Ken Seifert, a committee member.
Another committee project is a speech contest in honor of King's oratory. Participants will submit an essay on realizing the dream of the slain civil rights leader.
The winner will give his or her speech at the Blak Coffee House on Feb. 18 and will receive a scholarship to attend the Civil Rights Seminar over spring break.
All News Stories for Wednesday, January 19, 19100