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Events Commemorate Visionary Work of Martin Luther King Jr.

March 26, 2018

The St. John Fisher College community will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death with a series of events, SJFCMLK50: Rise Up! Know Justice, Know Peace, planned from Wednesday, April 4 through Tuesday, April 10. All events are free and open to the public.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The events were inspired by MLK50, a national, year-long commemoration of King’s assassination, focused on the theme, “Where Do We Go From Here?” which was the title of King’s final book and the speech he delivered August 16, 1967 at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

At Fisher, the events will highlight King’s years of leadership through faith, nonviolence, and bottom-up activism.

Sermonizing, Prophesying, and Signifying
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, in Basil 135
Join Fisher professors in exploring, responding to, and reflecting on select MLK speeches, sermons, and eulogies, on topics including:

Stale Bread of Hate
Dr. Arlette Miller Smith will give a summary of King’s “Eulogy for the Young Victims of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing” (September 18, 1963) and share her connection to the four Birmingham victims.

Back to the Mountaintop
Dr. Patricia Tweet will examine the religious and political imagery in. King's speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” (April 3, 1968), while she also explores the church as a space for spirituality, sociality, and social activism.

MLK @ APA: King’s Challenge to the Social Sciences
Dr. Ryan Thibodeau will discuss the address King delivered at the 1968 convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), where he challenged the nation’s social scientists to take up the causes of racism and civil rights. Thibodeau will look at what contributions the social sciences have made to these critical efforts.

5:30 to 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, in Golisano Gateway Midlevel
Students in Honors 275 and event organizers thread together Peace Pieces, activities that include dialogue, art, and reflection.

Lecture: Archbishop Joseph Cardinal Tobin
7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, in the Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great
His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Tobin, archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, will discuss the ministry of Pope Francis during his talk, "Five Years Later: Is Pope Francis Making a Difference?"

Spoken Word Performance: Rise Up! Speak Write Side Up Again
7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, in the Golisano Gateway Midlevel
This special performance, Rise Up! Speak Write Side Up Again, features We All Write poets Selena Fleming, Tokeya Graham, Reenah Golden, Kristen Gentry, and Lu Highsmith.

Rise Up! Let Us Be Dissatisfied
7 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6, in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Athletic Center
An evening featuring Rochester area ecumenical, civic, artistic, educational, and corporate leaders, among others, joined by a collective of choral voices. The commemoration begins with a “procession for peace” with Rochester leaders and features Fisher students and musical guests AKOMA, Omega Select Choir, Voices of Thunder, and Fisher’s Drastic Measures. Rev. Dr. James H. Evans will recall the King legacy and “where we go from here.”

Poetry & Prose with School 42
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, in Basil 135
Three sixth grade classes from School 42 will present a morning of poetry and prose designed by Fisher faculty member M.J. Iuppa, Project U.N.I.Q.U.E Artist-in-Residence.

The SJFCMLK50 planning committee includes Jeremy Luke, Fr. Kevin Mannara, Sarah Mancini-Goebert, JoAnne Robinson, Roja Singh, Marianne Simmons, Yantee Slobert, Liz Durand, Paulo Silvera (artist), Fr. William Graf, Ranita Williams (student), led by co-chairs M. J. Iuppa and Dan Edes, and chair Arlette Miller Smith.

Principal sponsors for the events include Barnes & Noble Booksellers, William and Helen Cavanaugh Chair of Catholic Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, and the visual and performing arts minor. Additional supporters include African American studies minor, Campus Ministry, The Honors Program, Lavery Library, Campus Safety and Security, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs, Project U.N.I.Q.U.E (Rochester City School District), and the Division of Student Affairs/Dean of Students.