Heidelberg celebrates one of the great American icons on Monday, with Martin Luther Jr. Day ON! This day of celebration, reflection and giving back to the community is organized by Heidelberg’s University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC). This year, the DEIC has created a hybrid program, so that members of the campus community can pick and choose how and where to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King. We know some of our students haven’t participated in MLK Jr. Day ON! before, and aren’t sure what all they can do, so here’s a breakdown all of the opportunities this Monday will offer!
The Mission: “To honor the life and legacy of Dr. MLK, and his pursuit for justice for all people, first and foremost. We also want to highlight the bigger picture of community - and service is a great way to emphasize that.” - Shaun Gunnell, director of Multicultural Student Affairs and DEIC co-chair
Keynote Speaker, 9 a.m.
Keep in Mind: “We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together. And you can’t get rid of one without getting rid of the other.'” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. (1967)
Students who registered (here!) can go to Gundlach Theater to hear from Claudie Johnson, an ’85 Heidelberg alumnus, Board of Trustees member and member of the Heidelberg Athletic Hall of Fame. Claudie is currently the CEO of a credit union in Atlanta, and he’s going to talk about financial equity. Students who did not register can still watch the speech via Zoom link, which will be available on the MLK, Jr. Day ON!’s Canvas page.
DEIC’s co-chair Shaun Gunnell said he is most looking forward to Claudie’s address: “It’s great to have him in front of our student population, as an alum - it’s powerful, and has the ability to have a high impact.”
On-Campus Service, 10:30 a.m.
Keep in Mind: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. (1957)
Starting at 10:30, students can participate in some of the on-campus service projects that are being hosted for the day! Each of these service projects is expected to take 2 hours, and students can register to participate here!
- The Yarn Project: Heidelberg’s yarn art club, Keep Calm and Carry Yarn, will provide materials and instructions on how to create hats or scarves that will be donated to a local shelter to provide some warmth in the coming months. Anyone from novice to expert can help provide for our neighbors!
- Rise Against Hunger: If you’re looking for something more fast-paced, help package over 10,000 dried meals to be donated to people with limited access to food. There will be fun music and a lively atmosphere that you won’t want to miss!
- Letters of Appreciation: If doing good from home is what you have in mind, write some letters of appreciation to retired Heidelberg staff and faculty. These can be generic or specific, and can be brought to the Student Engagement Office to be directly mailed to the retirees.
- Campus Deep Clean: Athletic teams and some staff and faculty are taking charge of cleaning their areas around campus. We’re trying to tidy it all up, from the training room to the old mail office Anyone who signs up will receive a location to go and help
- Keep in Mind: “These service projects are part of building our beloved community – and we’re building it together. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that it takes us all working at the level where we are to create a beloved community that is just, fair and equitable, and this is our way of doing that!” - Chaplain Paul Sittason Stark
Educational Sessions, 1:30 p.m.
Keep in Mind: “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.'” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. (1947)
Staff and faculty are hosting several different educational sessions, which can be attended either in person or on Zoom. More information about these sessions and how to participate is on the MLK, Jr. Day ON! Canvas page. Bettering yourself is a great way to better the community!
Keep in Mind: “I want people to approach the event with an open mind and willingness to learn and listen and understand and also share experiences if they’re willing, and provide feedback as well.” - Shaun Gunnell
University Town Hall, 4 p.m.
Keep in Mind: “I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other.” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. (1962)
The educational sessions will finish up with a Heidelberg University Town Hall. Shaun explained that we will be discussing everyday life in the community of Tiffin, Ohio, intending to “bring light to areas for growth for Heidelberg University and its relationship to the community.”
Obama-ology Reading, 7:30 p.m.
Keep in Mind: “... Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. (1968)
Then, to finish off the day, there will be a reading of the play Obama-ology, by Aurin Squire, in Gundlach Theater. The play discusses themes of racial identity, sexuality, and gentrification, as well as the overwhelming presence of racism in the police force.
Isaac Hulbert will be reading the part of Warren, a young campaign volunteer for Obama, in Cleveland during the 2008 election. Isaac says that the play “shows that there is not just one type of person, and that everyone’s personalities and experiences are different from one another, and we can learn from each of them, as well.”
Keep in Mind: “I think that the audience should know that this story is not just about African Americans - this show is good for any person, in any environment.” - Isaac Hulbert
Keep in Mind: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. (1963)
Anyone who would like to be a part of Tiffin’s community celebration can watch a video available on Heidelberg’s YouTube channel starting at 7 p.m. Monday This celebration will be hosted by Heidelberg’s BSU president, Alyssa Martin, in conjunction with Tiffin University, NAACP representative Joni Pinskey and Mayor Aaron Montz. The event involves a keynote speech, choral selections provided by the Heidelberg University-Community Chorus, and essays from local school kids about who, today, reminds them of Rev. Dr. King.
-- story by Em Swain '22