Better late than never.

Despite being scheduled more than a week after the actual holiday, Fairfield kicked off its Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 28, and it is set to run through Jan. 31.

The theme of the celebration this year is “Witness to History: Everyday Revolutions & the Struggle for Justice.”

Co-chair of the MLK Day Committee, Fred Kuo, stated that the committee has been around for nearly 30 years.  It is made up of about 25 members, including co-chair Dr. Kris Sealey and a mix of other faculty, staff and students.

Kuo explained that the committee’s “driving force” was Larry Mason, who is the former director of multicultural relations at Fairfield.

Kuo has been involved with the committee for four years and stated that although the committee was established “well before his time” he believes that an incident on campus may have spurred the formation of the committee. Kuo did not have any further information about what the particular incident may have been.

Although the events are not take place during the same week as MLK Day, Kuo explained that part of the reason why was “logistical” because in recent years, students moved back onto campus on MLK Day.

The MLK Committee found that trying to have big events the same week as move-in was a bad idea because of poor attendance. He stated that in order to give students more time to move in and to boost attendance, the event was pushed back.

The Martin Luther King Jr. celebration is “also on the cusp of black history month,” stated Kuo. “Why not extend things beyond the day when students can appreciate what Dr. King’s legacy really means?”

“Now more than ever, we are talking about the civil rights movement, and anything that we can do to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive is important because it reminds not only students, but faculty and staff that although the civil rights movement was 50 years ago, there are still things that we need to fight for,” said Kuo.

One of the highlights of Fairfield’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration is Convocation. According to Kuo, it is the pinnacle of the week and open to the general public.

It will take place this Thursday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The guest speaker of the event is Wil Haygood, author of “The Butler” and a Washington Post journalist.

“As part of the 2014 MLK Convocation members of the faculty, staff and student body will be recognized for some of their work that is found to be consistent with Dr. King’s,” stated Kuo.

Other events taking place this week include: Day of Service, Memorial March, Youth Leadership Conference and Poetry for Peace.

The Memorial March was the first of the events featured during the MLK celebration. Faculty, staff and students alike participated. Astrid Quinones ‘14 was involved in the event Tue. morning. She explained that she was stationed at the blue light, which is one of the first stops of the march. Quinones said she believes “[the march] is a good thing to have on campus to recognize the injustices people overcame and to commemorate those who fought.”

She also mentioned that the Memorial March recognized the change that people want to see and showed that people still have to work for change.

Melissa Quan, a member of the MLK Committee, said that the march was “really inspiring to come together and very organic because [the march] reflects the passion and commitment of faculty and students.”

Senior Jameel James, an MLK committee member, said he believes that students on campus should attend the Martin Luther King Jr. events “because its an opportunity to learn about social justice and giving back to others in a hands on approach rather than reading about it in a book or sitting in on a lecture.”

Although the event is a week late and a week long, James said “it is important to have a week-long event because there is so much that you can do with MLK’s message and trying to apply so much of what he has taught us into our everyday lives. He not only spoke about racial issues but he spoke about inequality across the board and giving back to those who are less fortunate.”

Kuo concluded, “Anything that we can do to remind the University and community [of] that, then we are doing our job.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.