Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou is the convocation speaker for Eastern Mennonite University's Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on Monday, January 21. He will also preach on Sunday at Bethel AME Church in Harrisonburg and provide a workshop on non-violence protest later in the afternoon on Monday. (Photos courtesy of The Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou)

EMU’s MLK Day Celebration honors civil rights leader with worship, learning opportunities and service

EMU celebrates the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  with several days of events around the theme “A Time to Break Silence.”  Service, learning and celebration begins on and off campus Friday, Jan. 18, and culminates in a full day of activities on Monday, Jan. 21.

The theme comes from Habukkuk 1:13: Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?

Friday, January 18

7 p.m. – Church Cleaning at Bethel AME Church

Saturday, January 19

Noon – Cleaning at Newtown Cemetery and John Wesley United Methodist

Sunday, January 20

11 a.m. – Community Church Service at Bethel AME Church with The Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou

1 p.m. – Community Luncheon at John Wesley United Methodist Church

Monday, January 21

8 a.m. – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Breakfast at Lucy Simms Center

9:30 a.m. – Solidarity March at Thomas Plaza

10 a.m. – Convocation Program and Talk Back in Lehman Auditorium with The Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, an activist, theologian, author, documentary filmmaker, and musician from St. Louis, Missouri. (see more information below)

11:15 a.m.  – Reading Circles of Speeches and Sermons

11:45 a.m.  – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the new campus barbershop/salon in University Commons.  Harrisonburg barber Tyrone Sprague, who traditionally hosted EMU visitors in his downtown barbershop on MLK Day, is coming to share wit, wisdom, history and legacy in EMU’s own new space, “The Royal Treatment.” This project was crowdfunded in record time by many donors who see the cultural significance of creating such a space on the EMU campus.

11:15 a.m.  – Lecture: “Remembering the Confederacy: A Monumental Debate,” with Professor Mark Sawin. Discipleship Center

11:15 a.m.  – Workshop: Safe Zone Training (students only), with Matt Hunsberger. UC 211/212.

11:15 a.m.  – Workshop: Racial Equity Leadership Institute, Phase I, with Professor Melody Pannell and members of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Seminary Building, Room 215.

1:15 p.m.  – Lecture: “Remembering the Confederacy: A Monumental Debate,” with Professor Mark Sawin. Discipleship Center

1:15 p.m.  – Workshop: Safe Zone Training (faculty and staff), with Matt Hunsberger. UC 211/212.

1:15 p.m.  – Workshop: Emancipatory Hope in Action: Strategies for Awareness, Assessment and Social Justice Advocacy, with Professor Melody Pannell and members of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Seminary Building, Room 215.

1:15 p.m. – Workshop: Non-violent Protest with Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou (two hours). CC 105.

1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.  – Harriet Tubman Museum Tour, 2065 Reservoir St., with Stan Maclin.

3:30 p.m.  – Movie Showing: Hidden Figures, with Professor Tara Kisbaugh. Suter Science Center 106.

7 p.m.  – Movie Showing: Al Helm: MLK in Palestine, with moderator Dr. Bob Bersson, CIE visiting Jewish scholar. Sponsored by the Center for Interfaith Engagement. Suter Science Center, Room 106.

Harrisonburg area community events

2 p.m.  – People’s Day March hosted by the Martin Luther King Jr. Way Coalition
6 p.m.  – James Madison University Formal Program with speaker Dr. Brittany Cooper
7:30 p.m.  – Bridgewater College Endowed Lecture with Nikki Giovanni

In Washington D.C. with the Washington Community Scholars Center

WCSC hosts students for visits to the Anacostia neighborhood, the MLK Memorial and FDR Memorial; participation in the MLK Parade in Anacostia; and a service project with Little Friends for Peace.

Service projects

  • Throughout the day, gift cards will be collected at all events in support of those on and off campus dealing with hunger.
  • Service projects are also being conducted with Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (assembling kits), Bridge of Hope (updating local church records), Mercy House (working on a bulletin board), and Vine & Fig (groups will paint the interior and work on garden space at the new Madison Street house, and work on spreading gravel on Northend Greenway).
  • The EMU athletics department hosts a day of activities for area elementary and middle school students.

More on convocation speaker Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou

Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou

The Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, of St. Louis, Missouri, is an activist, theologian, author, documentary filmmaker, and musician. To learn more about his many academic, spiritual and artistic works, visit his website.

After Michael Brown Jr.’s killing, he travelled to Ferguson to organize alongside local and national groups on behalf of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the country’s oldest interfaith peace organization. At that time, he was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Education and Research Institute. He also spent six weeks in Charlottesville, Virginia, training clergy in response to the Unite the Right rally.

Among his many musical and cultural works are the May 2017 release “In Times Like These” produced the six-time Grammy nominated North Mississippi Allstars and several books on the topics of religion, democracy and culture, including the forthcoming Riot Music: Race, Hip Hop and the Meaning of the London Riots 2011 (Hamilton Books).

MLK Day Committee

Contributing their energy and expertise to this day’s planning are Skyy Brinkley, Tah’je Coleman, Tae Dews, Teresa Haas, Roxy Kioko, Oksanna Kittrell, Gretchen Maust, Melody Pannell, Kimberly Schmidt, Andrew Suderman, Jakiran Richardson, Celeste Thomas and Precious Waddy.

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