From shaving cream to hand-made marching signs, events were held Jan. 20th on campus in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. who was assassinated nearly 50 years ago.
“This is my first time making something like this available for everybody on what some people just consider a day off from school,” said Teresa Taylor-Williams, director of student programs. “Our hope is to make something available to the public and campus to talk about this great civil rights leader. Even the diversity of the people in the room today, like the student volunteers. I know some people think of MLK Day as a black event but it’s not, it’s for everybody because he was for everybody.”
Student volunteers including E-Team and Kappa Delta Phi, the international Honors Society in Education, helped run activity booths. They also led attendees from William Allen White Library to the Emporia Presbyterian Church, 802 Commercial St., where a candlelight vigil and service were held.
While many of the volunteers were students, some faculty members also helped out, like Kevin Rabas, chair of the department of English, modern languages and journalism.
“I love showing them the magic of poetry so they can get enthusiastic about it, excited about it and inspired by it,” Rabas said. “I have a son whose 16 now but when he was growing up, we did a lot of fun things to keep him involved…this is my life. I love sharing poetry and seeing what you can express through that artistic medium.”
In Webb hall there was a station where you could write ‘MLK’ in shaving cream, a sign making station, a read-aloud corner, a mosaic, music and poetry and a station where you could make a reflection of yourself.
“Our booth is called ‘I’m a reflection of MLK’, ” said Alex Reid, senior elementary education major. “This space is a lot more open than last year, it's good to have more people in a bright and inviting space. I think it really makes a difference.”
Across the hall, members of the Black Student Union set up in the Blue Key Room to discuss what Martin Luther King Jr. meant to them more in depth with older kids who may not be interested in the activities said Taylor-Williams.
“Everything Martin did for unity (was inspiring to me) and I wanted to reflect some of his passion,” said Xavier Cason, BSU education chair. “When I learned about him when I was younger, I remember hearing he was told no all the time but that never deterred him.”
The next event sponsored by the BSU and Diversity Student Programs will be the “Step Afrika!” dance show from 7-8:30 p.m., Feb. 4 in Albert Taylor Hall.