MMU celebrates MLK Day with service, discussions, film

Each year, the third Monday in January is designated as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—the only federal holiday observed as a day of service. Across the country, individuals and groups will donate their time to community projects, honoring the commitment to service and community exemplified by the life of Dr. King.

Mount Mercy University students, faculty and staff will honor Dr. King’s legacy Jan. 15–18 with a variety of events. Some events are open to the public while others are for students only.

Students will start the week with a Day of Service on Jan. 15. After a kickoff in the Sisters of Mercy University Center at 8 a.m., students will head into the community for a day of service projects.

On Jan. 16 at 7 p.m., community members are invited to celebrate the life and reflect on the impact of Dr. King, as well as acknowledge the value and importance of human civil rights. Dr. Zachary Williams, associate professor of African American History at the University of Akron, will speak in the Chapel of Mercy during this commemorative service. Williams is also the coordinator of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century’s Research Consortium and the co-founder of the Africana Cultures and Policy Studies Institute. A reception is scheduled to follow.

On Jan. 17, students will have the opportunity to explore and discuss how Dr. King might respond to today’s social movements during our monthly Brown Bag Lunch Conversation series.

On Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. in Betty Cherry Heritage Hall, the public is invited to a film screening of "Holler If You Hear Me" followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Mount Mercy Assistant Director of Diversity & Engagement David Butts. The documentary addresses the intersection of religion, race and sexual orientation.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an opportunity to honor the work of a great man and also look at solving the problems our communities face,” Butts said. “It is certainly important to recognize the value of service and community on this day, but it is also important to understand that service shouldn’t be limited to one day. We foster this idea at Mount Mercy, and our students are often involved in service throughout the year.”

The Mount Mercy community boasts over 16,000 hours of service for the 2016-17 year already, almost 6,000 hours more than the previous year.

Most recently, students, faculty and staff were visible in preparation for the 2016 flooding, as they pitched in to move belongings to safety, fill sandbags and sandbag homes. The university’s Olson Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic offered free counseling services to families affected by flooding and Enactus Club devised a way to reuse the sandbags to benefit local nonprofits after the flood threat was over.

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