A ‘World Perspective’ Honors Martin Luther King, Jr.

For a full schedule of events visit the official Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration website.

Banner for Dartmouth's 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

In his 1967 Christmas Sermon on Peace, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

Over half a century later, Dartmouth is taking from his sermon the theme of its two-week King celebration, which begins on Jan. 15.

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Dartmouth’s Annual MLK Celebration Focuses on Social Justice

Toward the end of his life, says Evelynn Ellis, Dartmouth’s vice president for Institutional Diversity and Equity, King was not narrowly focused on civil rights for African Americans.

“Definitely a priority for him was the [Vietnam] war—the violence, incredible violence, that we were taking to other borders,” she says.

Ellis co-chairs the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. celebration committee with Sara Campbell, assistant director of institutional events in the office of Conferences and Events.

The civil rights leader always had a global view, Ellis explains. “In his mind our neighbors were all over the world. So what we are saying this year is that our perspective now, even more so, needs to be global because of all the things that are happening to our sisters and brothers. And our whole planet. It’s happening to us, it’s happening to them and it won’t be solved by us just taking care of ourselves.”

Rohina Malik
Rohina Malik will be the keynote speaker for Dartmouth's 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. (Photo courtesy of Rohina Malik)

Ellis found this year’s keynote speaker, playwright and civil rights activist Rohina Malik, when Malik performed her one-woman play, Unveiled, during the Dartmouth for Islam Awareness Week last April. “The play is about needing to hide one’s identity because of who you are. But at the time I had no idea where we would be right now in the discussions about Muslims in this country,” Ellis says.

“My hope in writing the play,” Malik says, “was to challenge negative stereotypes and to create a safe place to have dialogue. Theater is a powerful art form because it brings people together and creates a safe place to share thoughts and ideas.”

Malik will speak, with remarks by President Phil Hanlon ’77 and Kristina Williams ’16, at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 in Moore Theater at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

Rev. Leah Daughtry ’84,
Rev. Leah Daughtry ’84 will give the public lecture for the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. (Photo courtesy of Leah Daughtry)

The lecture kicking off the week-long celebration, by the Rev. Leah Daughtry ’84, CEO of the 2016 Democratic National Convention Committee, is also timely. Her 4 p.m. lecture on Jan. 15 is co-sponsored by the Nelson Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the William Jewett Tucker Center. Daughtry says she’ll focus on “how to engage in an elegant civil discourse on issues of significance at a local and global level and how people should think about the impact of their words, their behaviors, and their actions.”

Daughtry will lead a multi-faith celebration at Rollins Chapel on Jan. 17. The service will include music from the Dartmouth Gospel Choir and the World Music Percussion Ensemble.

Other events include faculty members presenting “Teaching Why Black Lives Matter.” The panelists will explain how they helped developed a new course exploring issues arising from the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Ellis will lead the song “Lift Every Voice” with Walt Cunningham, director of the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir, at the annual employee breakfast in the Hanover Inn ballroom on Jan. 18. Dia Draper, associate director for strategic initiatives in Tuck’s MBA Program, will speak. Later that day, the 24th annual candlelight vigil, presented by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, begins at 5 p.m. on the first floor of Cutter-Shabazz Hall.

Presentation of Social Justice Awards concludes the two-week observation. Recognition this year will go to five individuals and one organization:

  • The Urban Health Scholars, a program founded in 2006 by students at the Geisel School of Medicine, through which students work on projects to improve public health in cities ranging from Manchester, N.H., to New Orleans, will receive the Student Organization Award.
  • The Holly Fell Sateia award will go to Keiselim “Keysi” Montás, associate director of the Department of Safety and Security. Montás, who was born in the Dominican Republic, works in many ways (including teaching tango lessons) to promote diversity at Dartmouth.
  • David Gordon ’00 will receive the Emerging Leadership Award for his public health work including projects in Ecuador, Uganda, Turkmenistan, Lesotho, and Kenya. Currently a clinical instructor in pediatrics at San Francisco General Hospital, he founded and directs the Collaboration for Locally-Driven Improvement in Pediatrics.
  • The co-founder of Cover Home Repair and executive director of the Family Place, Nancy Bloomfield ’99, will receive the Ongoing Commitment Award.
  • Lifetime achievement honors go to Ashley Bryan, professor emeritus of studio art and an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator.
  • Christopher Keating ’86, a former public defender and executive director of New Hampshire’s Judicial Council, will receive the Lester B. Granger class of 1918 Award, named for one of four brothers who attended Dartmouth. Granger served as executive director of the Urban League for 20 years.