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We Are What America Looks Like: Week-long celebration and remembrance of MLK Jr. on campus


By: Julia Moreno

In the upcoming week, we will be celebrating the impact Martin Luther King Jr. had on the civil rights movement through a series of events happening around campus. Not only will we be looking back on the work he’s done but we’ll be looking forward on how to continue work on social justice issues. 

The week kicked off with a fantastic performance last weekend by two CWU students called “The Mountaintop.” This play re-imagined King’s last night on earth, in which a stranger forced King to confront his destiny and legacy.

This Wednesday and Thursday, CWU student volunteers will lead groups of local elementary students to think about King’s work during “ Make a Difference Day” activities including roleplaying of civil rights skits and making signs for a peace march. The kids can take back the signs to their schools. Interested in volunteering? Contact Kim Jellison, program manager in the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement (CLCE).

Manuel Rodriguez, director of CLCE said the Make a Difference Day event has grown over the last eight years. Originally, the event started out with just inviting fifth graders to CWU’s campus. Now, we have around 300 students between second and fifth grade coming to learn more about what they can do to, well, make a difference.

“(They will be) creating posters, learning about MLK, having a discussion about civil rights and finding ways to apply that knowledge and be able to live that currently,” he said.

To end the week, there will be a peace march and remembrance program at the CWU Student Union and Recreation Center.

“It’s really a time for us to more fully and intentionally remember the hard work of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement,” he said. “There are a lot of things we need to do in terms of social justice that affect us every day. It’s always important to remember that and know that we can still do more.”

The march is at 3:30 p.m. in the SURC Pit. The remembrance program is at 4 p.m. in the SURC theatre. In addition to selected readings, skits and spoken word by CWU students, the Townsend School of Music and Arts Concert Choir as well as Robin Henderson and Friends will come to perform on campus.

Sam Townsend, minister and founder of the Townsend School of Music and Arts, said he and the rest of choir were honored to come perform on CWU’s campus.

He will be singing with the choir group and plans on featuring songs that will fit in with the theme of continuing social justice work in the current day and age.

“We stay away from songs that talk about ‘The Dream’ because I think we’ve talked about the dream enough. At this point there is a necessary awakening that needs to happen. The songs that we are bringing are really songs that are a call to action,” Townsend said.

He said the choir group is excited to have the opportunity to share the gospel of Christ in a way that promotes love, unity and, of course, action to change.

“In the very lyrics of the song, they call for you to make a decision. They call for you to contemplate to think of your motives and motivation behind what you say and what you do. The music drives you to a joyful place, it wants you to do something,” he said. “It’s our hope through the music that when the music stops, there’s action to follow.”

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