Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

On Jan. 31, WCU held the Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The MLK Day of Service is nationally recognized on Jan. 21, but WCU decided to hold it on Jan. 31 because the semester had not started yet. Scattered throughout the Sykes Student Union, events ran from morning into the late evening to honor the freedom fighter who accomplished so much for our great nation in what little time he had. He laid down his life before the age of 40, pursuing the goal of social justice for all. A day of remembrance and dedication is the least our community can do to embrace Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dedication to the American struggle for equality. 

At 10 a.m. the 20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Brunch was held in the SSU Ballroom. Sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Society and WCU, the brunch included the presentation of the “Drum Major for Justice” award to two alumni, Diane Horsey and Daryl Howard. These class of ’94 alumni were chosen to receive this award on behalf of their model commitment to the community and educational process. WCU sponsored a commemorative MLK poster contest between the local high schools, and each brunch participant was given a copy of the winning poster. 

Continuing with the MLK Celebration Day events, “Blankets for Kids!”, a volunteer service project, was held at 3 p.m. in the Sykes Ballroom. Orchestrated by the Office of Service- Learning and Volunteer Programs, the event gave anyone interested the opportunity to make fleece blankets for pediatric hospital patients.  

“In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service, we are providing comfort for kids in local hospitals,” Director of the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs Jodi Roth said.

There was a pivotal quote by Dr. King found on nearly every piece of literature given out at the entrance of the event that encompassed the motivation behind it, and of course projected the platform of the hero himself:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

Paying homage to MLK in his steadfast efforts to help others, hundreds of students and community members participated in the craft task. “We had over 350 students in attendance, which more than doubled our numbers from previous years,” Caitlin Mahon, Graduate Assistant of the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs, said. The blankets were made for the Chester County Hospital NICU and Pediatrics Department, and the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children. 

In the early evening an appropriately themed “soul food dinner” was served from 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at both Sykes Union and Lawrence Dining Center. The cuisine of fried chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and black eyed peas with shredded pork was available for WCU students with their meal plan and completely open to the community. 

Additionally, the film Red Tails was presented in the Sykes Union Theater at 8 p.m. The 2012 film by George Lucas portrayed African-American United States Airforce servicemen in World War II. Sponsored by the Student Activities Council, the screening was free of charge. 

Altogether campus was full of events in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of service and freedom for all. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Day was a success in reinforcing the ideals of the civil rights leader who sacraficed so much for our liberties. Readers interested in these acts of service can find many other methods of contibuting to their community in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at MLKday.gov. 

Nicholas Devoe is a senior majoring in English with a journalism minor.  He can be reached at ND626335@wcupa.edu.

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