SMC/ND honor Martin Luther King
By SARAH RYKOWSKI
While students at many public and private universities will take today off from school to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., students at Notre Dame and Saint Mary's will remain in class.
According to Chandra Johnson, assistant to the president, and assistant director for Campus Ministry at Notre Dame, the policy is to save up the days from Monday holidays such as today and allow for a longer semester break and a weeklong fall break.
"Notre Dame never takes the Monday holidays because of fall break and Christmas break. It's an option that we get as a private school," Johnson said. "We just save up those days."
Even though the students at both schools will remain in class today, events are planned on both campuses to mark the holiday and remember King and his legacy.
At Notre Dame, the activities center around the theme "Operation Love: Making a Difference Piece by Peace." A committee of six students and five staff members chose this theme because of the continuing situation in Afghanistan, and the need for peace around the world.
Jourdan Sorrell, a sophomore at Notre Dame, suggested using a quilt to illustrate the theme.
"I thought a good segueway into [our theme] would be a peace quilt," Sorrell said. "The different squares represented what Dr. King and his legacy meant to different people."
Johnson, Sorrell and three other students and staff members also decided to include the South Bend community in the project.
"I invited 40 odd South Bend elementary schools, Catholic and private, and all Notre Dame residence halls and dorms to participate," Johnson said. "They have kits for quilts and I got a quilt packet with all the colors of the rainbow. We mailed a patch to all the elementary schools and residence halls with instructions."
After three-and-a-half- weeks, Johnson stated that they had received half of the patches, completed, from the elementary schools and about 15 or 16 from the residence halls at the University.
"Susan Good, a technology specialist in the law school, offered to sew [the patches] together over the Christmas holidays," Johnson said. "Her uncle, a Holy Cross priest, constructed a stand for it."
According to Johnson, the quilt will be unveiled Tuesday, and members of all the participating schools are invited to the unveiling and will receive a certificate of appreciation for their participation.
"I think this quilt is a very strong reminder of how far we've come as people," Sorrell said. "The quilt is a reminder of Dr. King's legacy, and illustrates how we can come together to work for a common cause. It reflects what struggles we have endured as human beings."
As to the future of the quilt, Johnson stated that the quilt may travel around the University, and that no concrete decision regarding its final location has been made.
"The Snite has offered to hang it, or it may travel," Johnson said. "We are still in the process to decide."
Other events at Notre Dame will include "From the Inside Out," an artistic showcase of student talent, with poetry readings, singing, and music.
"This event will show how students feel about themselves and Dr. King's legacy," Johnson said."[It would also] allow them to show from inside themselves what they contribute to the community."
"From the Inside Out" will take place on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom. Junior Kat Walsh has coordinated "Speaking the Truth," a fireside chat between students and student leaders taking place on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Coleman-Mores Center.
Finally, observance of the holiday will end with a prayer service, "The Peace Quilt: Tied Together In the Single Garment of Destiny." Johnson will facilitate the service, which will take place in Keenan-Stanford Chapel at 7 p.m. Thursday.
"Voice of Faith and Celebration will sing, and Pasquerilla East Musical Company will also sing," Johnson said.
At Saint Mary's, students can celebrate Martin Luther King Day at a Networking continental breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. today in 303 Haggar. Free "We are ALL Special" buttons will be available to wear in honor of the holiday. Campus Ministry will also hold its annual Interfaith Prayer Service at 4:30 p.m. in Stapleton Lounge. The Sisters of Nefertiti cosponsor the event.
"It is a day of service, a day on, not a day off," said Terri Johnson director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. "The important part about the celebration of this holiday is all of the events scheduled throughout the community and the [many] opportunities for everybody to make a difference. All of the events that OMA has scheduled are so that the students can attend and schedule them around their classes."
All News Stories for Monday, January 21, 2002