Murray State University begins Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorative events early with a candlelight vigil and march Sunday evening, with community breakfasts Saturday in Paducah and Monday in Murray. A series of presentations follow, including the screening of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom by Cinema International. MSU Multi-Cultural Affairs Director S.G. Carthell and Cinema International Coordinator Tim Johns join Kate Lochte on Sounds Good to talk about MLK Day and diversity events this semester.
Sunday, January 18 at 5:30 p.m. is an annual MLK Jr. candle light vigil, starting from Pogue Library to the MLK Jr. statue on Murray State's campus. The event will feature reflections from key individuals. On Monday morning, Alpha Phi Alpha hosts the annual MLK Community Breakfast at 9:30 in the Curris Center Banquet Room. The day of service asks groups to "pay it forward" and encourage others to do some individualized or spontaneous acts of kindness to others. S.G. Carthell says he hopes people will take the opportunity to help others and encourages individuals to connect through Murray State's volunteer website.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
February 19,20,21 - With Black History Month Celebrations, Cinema International presents this 2013 biopic on Nelson Mandela, starring Idris Elba. The film charts the long walk from apartheid to the 1994 election, when Mandela became the first democratically elected leader of South Africa. Tim Johns says he's hoping to schedule some events around Mandela's life and legacy in the week leading up to the film. South Africans were always looking across the Atlantic for inspiration and leadership from African Americans from Marcus Garvey to W.E.B. Du Bois.
Johns describes some of the other films in the Cinema International series this semester, namely the Golden Globe-winning film Boyhood this weekend and two documentaries: Stories We Tell by Sarah Polley - on learning who her father was (Valentine's weekend) and The Missing Picture by Rithy Pahn on the traumatic events surrounding the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia (last weekend of March).
Racial Legacies & Learning: Race and Ethnicity Symposium
S.G. Carthell says Mandela's approach of forgiveness and peace is relevant in our time. Promoting dialogue and civil ways to connect with others. Murray State is coordinating a race and ethnicity symposium in early April, which will frame content around three topic areas: politics, education and community.
"It's going to be a great opportunity for Murray State to set the standard on how we begin to discuss these issues and come up with some solutions, even if it's just solutions on how we can enhance our own community here, but also bringing some folks in that can come in and help frame the conversation so folks can feel free and comfortable to come in and talk about what challenges they see as it relates to race and ethnicity issues."
Carthell hopes college graduates will take into their home and/or future communities the ability to communicate within their sphere of influence effective dialog and understanding regarding race and ethnicity relations. He says, "If I believe that my value is just as important as your value and my life is just as important as your life and if we just keep saying that enough and we believe it, then we realize that some things are just universal."