Student volunteers and staff at Davidson College will help bring Martin Luther King Jr. Day to life with an array of programs and activities that are free and open to the public on Jan. 19.
From a King Day for Kids to several notable speakers addressing social-justice issues, young and old will have chances to reflect on the messages of King and the progress made since he led the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
The Martin Luther King Day Commemoration events began at Davidson College 20 years ago, according to Ernest Jeffries, assistant dean of students. “When classes were suspended to honor the holiday, we decided that we would provide programs that would commend and honor the life and legacy of Dr. King.
“It’s always been our perspective to bring people together, as he did. This gathering not only educates, but it also challenges participants to think about where they are in relation to the principles that Dr. King shared,” he said.
The keynote speakers will be the Rev. Charles White, national field director for Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, and Professor Marc Lamont Hill, a leading hip-hop intellectual and political commenter for the “O’Reilly Factor.”
In addition, panel discussions comprised of Davidson College students and led by faculty will be some of the highlights of the symposium.
“King Day for Kids’’ provides one of the most hands-on experiences of the event, allowing kindergarten to fifth-graders to take part in small-group readings, arts and crafts, storytelling and expressions of their dreams.
About 30 Davidson College students volunteer to engage the children in small-group settings. “Our small group leaders are volunteers from throughout the campus,” said Kyle Goodfellow, “King Day for Kids” coordinator.
“A lot of them hear about it through word of mouth. Some are already apart of the Civic Life Center or a part of our Bonner Scholars program. Several of our college fraternities and meeting houses have gotten very involved this year.”