At the Youth March for Integrated Schools in 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. charged his audience with a great challenge. “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”
Each year, the University of Redlands honors that challenge through events that embody the spirit of King’s work and legacy. This week, groups at U of R are hosting a variety of impactful events on campus.
“So many individuals have gone before us and fought so that we can have a better quality of life,” Michelle Kanu, the assistant director of enrollment, said. “The upcoming MLK events are an opportunity for us to pause and reflect on those efforts, and appreciate the time and sacrifice made by people like Dr. King. Just as Dr. King envisioned an environment where people of different backgrounds, creeds, and ethnicities could join hands and work together, these events reflect a collaborative effort of diverse organizations at U of R.”
Get on The Bus
Through January 19, the Office of Community Service Learning and Armacost Library are hosting a Get on The Bus Donation Drive, asking for donations of K-12 books, coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, and pens to give to children visiting their incarcerated parents. The Get on The Bus program aims to strengthen connections of families, both during and after incarceration, by bringing children throughout California to visit their mothers and fathers in prison. Get on The Bus hosts an annual event that offers the children free transportation, travel bags, and lunch with their parents.
On January 16, the U of R community can help make blankets for the children participating in the Get on The Bus program. Director of Student Involvement & Success Erin Sanborn ’10, believes “making blankets and collecting supplies for youth who will visit and write letters to their incarcerated parents has been a tremendous way for U of R students to support the Get on The Bus program.”
The annual Peace Walk, hosted by Black Students, Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and Alumni Association (BSFSAA) and U of R Staff Association (URSA), will begin at 11 a.m. on January 18 in front of the steps of the Administration Building. The U of R community will stand in solidarity and peace to reflect upon the legacy of King and the injustices currently happening around the globe.
“When the community gathers for the Peace Walk,” Assistant Director of Enrollment Kay Thomas ’20 said, “it will be a physical representation of the days and times about which Dr. King dreamed and preached. Simply having the freedom to plan events, where people of all races, genders, sexual orientation, economic and educational backgrounds can come together in unity and solidarity is the dream.”
Leading up to the Peace Walk, the U of R community can create posters in Hunsaker Center to express unrest or emotions they may feel and wish to express. Previous walks have ended the week with optimism and hope to grow and overcome adversity. Mikela Bjork, professor and co-director of the Center for Educational Justice School of Education, said “there is so much injustice in the world — food injustice, environmental injustice, racial injustice, ableism, sexism, heterosexism, settler colonialism. By bringing more attention to the difficult themes of injustice, we are able to make connections to how we are affected by them, how we contribute to them, and how we can help one another.”
To learn more about MLK week, click here.