King to be remembered with celebrations at Iowa State U.
By Jamie Lange
(U-WIRE) AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University students and faculty are joining with members of the community to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day this weekend.
They are aiming to educate the Ames community about the slain civil rights leader with their annual celebration, which kicks off today at noon with a musical celebration in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.
Lenola Allen-Sommerville, adjunct assistant professor in curriculum and instruction and chairwoman for the university planning committee, said the events are designed to meet the needs and attention of diverse audiences.
"This model is similar across the United States," she said. "In Ames, we reach the university as well as the community families."
Allen-Sommerville said she believes students and community members may learn a lot by attending these events.
"After attending the events, people should leave with a confirmed, renewed commitment toward equity and maximizing people's opportunities," she said. "Hopefully, people will have the strength to stand up for a better America."
Other events include a worship service, a birthday celebration and a concert. The events, including activities and information, are free and family-orientated.
Government of the Student Body President Matt Craft echoed Allen- Sommerville's beliefs regarding the celebration and its importance.
"It is always important to honor the people who came before us and made this country the place that it is today. Martin Luther King Jr. is obviously one of the greatest leaders this country has ever seen, and he should be honored properly," Craft said.
Other events planned to honor King include a community birthday celebration on Monday. King would have been 71 on Jan. 15 of this year.
The celebration will be held at 7 p.m. in the Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas Ave.
Judy Dolphin, executive director of the Ames-ISU YWCA, said the birthday party is open to people of all ages. It will include music from children who attend Roosevelt and Northwood elementary schools.
"Our program features young children. Their insights and knowledge are often surprising to adults," Dolphin said. "ISU students and community adults can gain appreciation of Dr. King's contributions by listening to children."
Like Dolphin, both Allen-Sommerville and Craft are encouraging all ISU students to attend the events.
"This is not just an African-American holiday celebration, but everyone's celebration in which they should reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Dr. King," Allen-Sommerville said.
She also said she believes all people should join together to celebrate this national holiday.
"It can help to promote a wonderful sense of community and subscribe to a symbol of peaceful action for equality," she said.
The celebration is sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Planning Committee, the Black Student Alliance, the Office of the Dean of Students, Ames-ISU YWCA, Minority Student Affairs, the music department, Margaret Sloss Women's Center, the Department of Religious Studies, the College of Education, the Baha'i Student Association, the African American Studies Program and the ISU Committee on Lectures.
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