Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. – an extraordinary leader. Most notably known for his leadership and advocacy during the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, King’s inspirational strength and faith is proudly celebrated every third Monday of January. For the colleges and universities here in Cincinnati, this holiday means more than just a day free of classes. King’s legacy is making waves this week at Xavier and the University of Cincinnati who’ve arranged a week of reflection and celebration to commemorate this extraordinary hero.
What exactly was King’s legacy? A new era in the United States where injustice and inequality became unacceptable. King was the unfailing voice of the civil rights movement until his assassination on April 4, 1968. In his time, he led the Montgomery Improvement Association, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Ebenezer Baptist Church, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the March from Selma to Montgomery and a People-to-People tour advocating for non-violent efforts to bring about an end to discrimination. King published 10+ books, of which five are remembered as important milestones of the civil rights movement as a whole. We remember his, “I Have a Dream” speech with nostalgia, but even this iconic event was one in hundreds of speeches and sermons that moved mountains. King endured countless life threats, jail time, and was continuously met with anger while still managing to heavily influence President John F. Kennedy’s Emancipation Proclamation. The beauty of his story lies in his emphasis on love. He believed that, “love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
UC and Xavier have planned a number of events to pay homage to Dr. King and inspire people to come together, absorb his message and take inspired action:
Tuesday January, 12 – “Continuing the Legacy: A Call to Action”
Thursday January, 14 – Racism and Xenophobia Round-Table
Saturday January, 16 – The Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon
Saturday January, 16 – 18th Annual Red, Black, Green & Gold Ball
Monday January, 18 – “Justice, Freedom, Equality: We Can’t Wait”
Sunday January, 17 – Racial Justice & the Role of Jesuit Institutions Panel – Sunday January, 17
Monday January, 18 – Martin Luther King Commemorative March – Monday January, 18.
Tuesday January 19 – Right to Not Remain Silent: Student and XUPD Discussion on Brutality, Community Relations, and Citizen Rights
Wednesday January, – 20 MLK Keynote: Becoming a Social Activist with Rosa Clemente
Thursday January, 21 – Why it Mattered: Reflecting on 2001 Riots featuring Father Graham
Thursday January 21 – Whiteness and White Privilege Conversation
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” King’s reputation is not limited to what he once did, but how he continues to inspire the conversation about equality and community. This year, UC and Xavier have chosen to remind us of King’s undying love and patience which inspired monumental change in the United States.
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About Laura Forero
Laura Forero is currently a junior at Xavier University studying Public Relations and Advertising. She enjoys reading, writing, and following a PR crisis as it unfolds in modern day media. Connect with her on LinkedIn.