Ithaca College Celebrates MLK Week 2020

By Ashley Reedman, January 15, 2020
This year’s theme was inspired by King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.”

Ithaca College will again commence its spring semester with a week of activities designed in remembrance of and dedication to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The MLK Week Celebration. from Jan. 20-25, will include presentations, lectures, exhibits, and workshops all centered on the theme “A Time Comes When Silence is Betrayal,” based on a quote from King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” also known as “The Riverside Church Speech.”

Civil Rights Tour Presentation

The first-year MLK Scholars kick off the week with their Civil Rights Tour Presentation. Each year, incoming scholars study the U.S. Civil Rights movement through a 3-credit seminar during the fall semester. Over IC's fall break, the group travels to different parts of Georgia and Alabama to connect with foot soldiers of the movement, visit museums and historic sites and immerse themselves in an experience that supports their academic work in the seminar.

In fall 2018, a group of staff members documented the MLK Scholars’ experiences, interviewing them throughout their first year, including joining them on the Civil Rights Tour. They documented the students visiting sites like the Martin Luther King Jr. National Park in Atlanta, Georgia; the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama; and the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. They interviewed the scholars before, during, and after the trip to learn about what it was like to visit these iconic landmarks and speak to activists firsthand, especially as students who are committed to social justice, and how they would incorporate what they learned in their lives and work in the future.

This video conveys the experiences and reflections of the students who participated in the Civil Rights Tour in fall 2018.

Additional Programming

Following the presentation, Provost La Jerne Terry Cornish will lead a community dialogue based on the quote for the week. Throughout the week, a self-guided media exhibit titled “The People’s Movement” will showcase primary documents of activists and organizers using their own words to explain their motivations.

“Oftentimes when we imagine social movements, we view them through the lens of another person: a historian, a journalist, a teacher, etc. That isn't bad, of course, but we are also hoping to encourage people to take some time to listen to how the actual people engaged in social struggle vocalize their call to action,” said Omega Hollies, assistant director of the Center for IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Social Change).

The latter half of the week includes presentations and conversations by Rabbi Saul Berman, and a reaffirmation of commitment to the pursuit of social justice during the MLK Shabbat Service.

While there is no keynote speaker, this year’s MLK Week includes more student-led workshops, available to Ithaca College students. On Tuesday, Jan. 21, a student-led workshop titled “Activism in the Digital Age” will be held in Klingenstein Lounge at 12:10 p.m., with a repeat session at 4 p.m. On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Students of Color Coalition will provide a workshop on historical and contemporary methods of activism in Klingenstein Lounge at 12:10 p.m.

Below is the list of MLK Week events that are free and open to the public.

Monday, January 20

“Civil Rights Tour Presentation” and Brunch
Provost Cornish’s introductory dialogue on this year’s guiding quote follows the first-year MLK Scholars’ presentation on their tour of Civil Rights movement landmarks in the South.
10 a.m., Emerson Suites, Campus Center

“The People’s Movement”
An interactive media exhibit composed of six listening and reading stations featuring historical accounts and contemporary perspectives of the Civil Rights Movement.

Monday, Jan. 20-Friday, Jan. 24
10 a.m.-5 p.m., Clark Lounge, Campus Center

Wednesday, January 22

“Black Lives Matter, Climate Change, Politics and Racial Justice:  Channeling Dr. King’s Legacy through Youth Protest and Activism with a Media Literacy Lens”

Presentation by Cyndy Scheibe, professor in the Department of Psychology and executive director of Project Look Sharp media literacy program, and Derek Adams, associate professor in the Department of English. What can students do to speak out forcefully about the things that matter most in today’s world and to make a genuine difference in the lives of others? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s strong commitment to peaceful but forceful protest provides the powerful inspiration and model to take on the increasingly challenging issues of militarism, consumerism, racism – and climate change.  Media literacy can provide the means, through critical analysis and evaluation of how we know what we know in today’s complex and mediated world, thoughtful reflection on our own biases and points of view, and the development of effective communication skills through multiple media forms.  
7 p.m. Emerson Suites, Campus Center

Thursday, January 23

“The Jewish Passion for Justice: Including Selma 1965 and an Orthodox Perspective on the Civil Rights Movement”
Presentation by guest lecturer Rabbi Saul Berman on civil disobedience and his motivation to join the march in Selma in 1965.
4 p.m., Muller Chapel

Interfaith Community Dinner
An evening of food and community with members of the Lansing Community and Interfaith Communities of Greater Ithaca. Vegetarian, Kosher and Halal options available.

6:30 p.m., Muller Chapel

Friday, January 24

MLK Shabbat Service
Join Hillel for a special nondenominational Shabbat service celebrating the legacy Martin Luther King Jr. and reaffirming a commitment to his vision of social and racial justice rooted in a spiritual tradition. A Kosher dinner will follow.
6 p.m., Muller Chapel

School of Music 2020 Annual MLK Concert
The School of Music will hold its annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Ford Hall. The concert will feature the Ithaca College Choir, the Ithaca College Chorus, the Ithaca College Jazz Vocal Ensemble and the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers. Student soloists include Preston Atkins, Louis Bavaro, Asila Folds, Naya Griles and Nicole Morris. Community Member Maria Ellis-Jordan, a Gospel singer, will also solo.The music will inspire each of us to live out the legacy of Dr. King. The program is directed by Janet Galvan and Baruch Whitehead.
7:30 p.m., Ford Hall

Starting at 8 a.m., on Saturday, January 25, Ithaca College students will also have opportunities to give back to the community during the annual MLK Day of Service, with breakfast and lunch available to participating students.

For More Information

For more information on Ithaca College’s MLK Week, visit the Center for IDEAS website, email or call (607) 274-7777.

(607) 274-7777