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Office of Diversity plans MLK events

For eight years, IU has had events around campus in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. This weekend, the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration features new and recurring events.

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs planned the event.
Kathy Smith, the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration planning committee chair, said this year’s theme for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is “Living King’s Legacy: Making a Career of Humanity.”

“There is surely not a person on this campus that has not benefited from the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Smith said via email. “Consequently, I think the overall message that the committee strives to convey is that MLK Day is a day worth celebrating on this campus for all it represents to IUB’s students, staff and faculty.”

The weekend will have some annual campus events like the Civil Rights Immersion trip to Little Rock, Ark., an essay and video contest, the Unity Summit and a student talent showcase called “Expressions: Dr. King’s Dream for Humanity.”

The talent showcase is co-sponsored with the Union Board, Office of Diversity Education, and others. The student representatives of the Martin Luther King Jr. planning committee will present the show at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Burskirk-Chumley Theater.

Smith said a special film festival honoring Madeline Anderson, a civil rights filmmaker who was the first American-born black woman to make a 30-minute documentary film in the film industry, will be new this year.

“To get the film festival underway, on Friday, Jan. 18, at 4 p.m. at the IU Cinema, Ms. Anderson will be in attendance for the screening of her film ‘I Am Somebody,’” Smith said. “There will be a reception following the screening at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Grand Hall at 7 p.m.”

The Catalyst Emergent Theater Project is another new event this year.

Eric Love, director of the Office of Diversity Education and the co-founder of the Emergent Theater Project, said the catalyst is an emergent theater project experiment that’s inspired by King.

“A catalyst is something that sparks or ignites an action or a chain reaction, and Dr. King was a catalyst for social justice in the U.S., for social change, and we hope that this play, or actually this performance, will be a catalyst for many great things to take place afterwards,” Love said.

The Catalyst Emergent Theater Project is directed by Love and Gus Weltsek and sponsored by many cultural groups on campus.

“We got a group of students together, we provided them acting workshops, writing workshops and some diversity education workshops,” Love said. “All of the students are authors and playwrights of their original pieces.”

Britt Sweeting, a freshman at Ivy Tech Community College, and Yusuf Agunbiade, a freshman at IU, created their own step routine for the Catalyst event.

“We’re doing a step dance that represents unity in the world, and our performance is basically to show that people can be individuals, but it’s the individuality that causes everybody to be one,” Sweeting said. “Together that individuality creates this oneness called humanity.”

The Catalyst Emergent Theater Project will be at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Whittenberger Auditorium.

For more information about the events happening during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, visit

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