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Stetson celebrates MLK Day with community

To commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 20, Stetson University, in collaboration with the MLK Planning Committee, will host a series of events and programs open to the public, themed around the topics of civil rights and global citizenship throughout the week of Jan. 20-24, 2014.

On Monday Jan. 20, the week of programs will kick off at 7:15 a.m. with the annual “MLK Prayer Breakfast,” sponsored by the MLK Planning Committee, and held at the Stetson University Rinker Field House inside Hollis Center, 602 N. Bert Fish Dr. Keynote speaker at the breakfast will be Pastor Willie C Barnes of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church of Eatonville, Fla. Other interfaith speakers will also be featured discussing Dr. King’s legacy and civil rights. Admission is open to the public for $5; $8 at the door, and includes a breakfast buffet.

Following the breakfast, participants will walk from Stetson University to the Chisholm Community Center as part of the annual “MLK March.” The event is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to bring posters and banners to commemorate the march.

At 12:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon, Stetson students will turn their values in to action by volunteering with local non-profit community partners as part of the annual “MLK Day of Service.” Everyone will meet at the Carlton Union Building (CUB) circle (131 E. Minnesota Ave.) to volunteer at local state parks, My Angel with Paws, Lighthouse Children’s Museum, Hatter Harvest, and a local nursing home. The public is invited to participate.

The Butler, the 2013 epic feature film directed by Lee Daniels, will be screened on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m., in the Lynn Business Center, Rinker Auditorium, 345 N. Woodland Blvd. The Butler is a story of a man who served as a butler to eight presidents at the White House – making him a witness (and participant) of the civil rights movement, Vietnam War, and other major historical events. The screening will be followed by a brief discussion moderated by staff from Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement. The event is free and open to the public. Cultural Credit will be provided for Stetson students.

On Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Stetson Room, on the second floor of the CUB, 131 E. Minnesota Ave., the university will be hosting the 2nd Annual Civil Rights Speakers Series featuring Janice Kelsey, a child foot soldier during the civil rights movement’s Birmingham Children’s Crusade. (See poster attached.) Kelsey was a first-hand witness to the use of fire hoses, attack dogs and jailing tactics by the Birmingham police in the 1960s. The discussion will be moderated by Professor Robert Bickel from the Stetson University College of Law. The event is free and open to the public. Cultural Credit will be provided for Stetson students. (Not a recordable event by outside source.)

On Friday, Jan. 24, at noon in the Allen Hall auditorium, 508 N. Woodland Blvd., Stetson Chaplain Michael Fronk will host a discussion on The Intersection of Faith and Civil Rights, with English lecturer and published author, Gail Radley and Assistant Provost for Student Success Lua Hancock, Ed.D. Participants will learn about the persecution of members of the Baha’i faith in many countries, as well as become empowered to use their faith to become agents of social change. Food and drinks will be provided. The event is free and open to the public. Cultural Credit will be provided for Stetson students.

“Helping students learn about the history and importance of civil rights is fundamental to advance Stetson University’s value of global citizenship,” said Heather Hamilton, community organizer coordinator with Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement, and the primary coordinator for the week’s events. “We appreciate the collaboration between the MLK Planning Committee, and Stetson’s Cross-Cultural Center, Chaplain’s Office, Education Department and Center for Community Engagement, to turn MLK Day into an entire week of engaging and educational programming for our students and community members.”

Questions about the week’s events can be directed to Heather Hamilton at hhamilto@stetson.edu or call (386) 822-8709.