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Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration 2018


Just Stand

Supporting MLK quote: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy," found in King’s 1963, Strength to Love, book of homilies.

Join us January 10-15, 2018, to engage the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Events throughout the week focus on issues of justice, racial-equality, labor-rights, pacifism, Christian faith and activism, community-based volunteerism, service and relationship building.

2018 Schedule of Events

Wednesday, Jan. 10
11:45-1:15 p.m. Religious Diversity Workshop (Northlawn, West Dining Room)

Thursday, Jan. 11
11:00 a.m.-1 p.m. Mix-it-up at lunch, engaging conversations with people from different backgrounds (Northlawn Dining Hall)

Friday, Jan. 12
10-10:30 a.m. Speeches and sermons Just Stand. Gather to hear and explore pieces of selected speeches and sermons from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (Lehman Auditorium).
7 p.m. Service project in Harrisonburg’s Northeast Neighborhood at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 184 Kelley Street. Ride available at Friday 6:45 pm in front of University Commons.

Saturday, Jan. 13
10 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Visit Harriet Tubman Cultural Center and Tyrone Sprague’s Barbershop (for straight-talk “Barbershop 101”). Transportation provided from the front of the University Commons at 9:30 a.m.

The Harriet Tubman Cultural Center is an educational and advocacy organization named for the early 19th-century escaped slave who helped lead others to freedom using a string of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. Visitors to the center will see a Harriet Tubman timeline, and information and displays about a local slave safe house and about “the degradation of humanity known as slavery and the following era of segregation,” Maclin said.“They will also see the legacy of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in their ongoing collection,” said Stan Maclin, president of the cultural center.

Barbershop Talk: Visit a traditional African American barbershop and engage in conversation around the Civil Rights Movement, race relations in Harrisonburg and the country as well as learn about some of the history of the North East Neighborhood, which is where the barbershop is located. The conversation will be reminiscent of conversations that typically take place in Black barbershops.


Sunday, Jan. 14
11 a.m. Community Church Service with Rev. Risher at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, 184 Kelley St., Harrisonburg. Transportation provided departing the University Commons at 10:30 a.m.
12:30 p.m. Tour of Dallard/Newman house, 192 Kelley Street

1:00 p.m. Community Lunch for church attendees held at John Wesley United Methodist Church, 425 Effinger Street, Harrisonburg, VA.

Monday, Jan. 15
10-10:15 a.m. Solidarity March starting on EMU Thomas Plaza (in front of the Campus Center) 
10:15-11:15 a.m. MLK, Jr. Celebration Service with Rev. Sharon Risher. Join the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through praise and worship (Lehman Auditorium).
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Meet and Greet Reception in Campus Center Greeting Hall. Themes from the celebration service will be further developed.

3:45 p.m. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks showing and talkback in the Science Center 104.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot and her best-seller, 'The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks' has created a lot of interest in the immortal HeLa cells that were taken from a 31 year old black woman called Henrietta Lacks without her family's consent at the Johns Hopkins Hospital at Baltimore in 1951. She describes the story of how Henrietta Lacks died and how her cells were sent around the world for medical research. She goes through the life stories of Henrietta and the Lacks family and the pain they endured when they found out about Henrietta's cells. Skloot's narration of the entire account is powerful, emotional, painful and even heart breaking. Her book has become a notable science reading for high school children and science undergraduates in the United States. And rightly so, Henrietta's story is a case of medical racism, violation of ethical obligation, segregation, ignorance, poverty and painful American history.

The title 'The Immortal life of Henriette Lacks' actually refers to the immortalization of cancer cells and we look at how HeLa cells are cultured and are able to divide indefinitely. This book looks at the life of Henrietta Lacks and describes HeLa cells in more detail.

Today, HeLa cells are the most widely used cell line in the world and has been instrumental in many of the world's medical discoveries. It was the first cells to be sent to space, has helped eradicate polio and has been used in 70,000 medical studies including the development of drugs for herpes, Parkinson's disease, leukemia and influenza.

The title 'The Immortal life of Henriette Lacks' actually refers to the immortalization of cancer cells and we look at how HeLa cells are cultured and are able to divide indefinitely. This book looks at the life of Henrietta Lacks and describes HeLa cells in more detail.

EMU Co-Sponsors of 2018 MLK Jr. Celebration

Multicultural Student Services, Campus Ministries, the Union of Student Organizations (Student Government Association), Black Student Union, and the EMU Gospel Choir with support from Y-Serve, Alpha Omega Dancers for Christ, EMU Education Department and the office of the undergraduate academic dean.

Additional Program Partners

Harriet Tubman Cultural Center, MLK, Jr. Way Coalition, Northeast Neighborhood Association (NENA), Bethel AME Church, John Wesley United Methodist Church, Harrisonburg-Rockingham County NAACP, Branch #7132.

2018 MLK Jr. Events in the Area

For more MLK, Jr. events in Harrisonburg this year:
JMU Center for Multicultural Student Services
Martin Luther King, Jr. Way Coalition
Harrisonburg-Rockingham County NAACP, Branch #7132