The Hiram College community will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day both in Washington, D.C., and with events on campus during the week of Jan. 21-25, 2013.
Beginning during the wee hours of Monday, Jan. 21, the federal day of observation, more than 50 students will board a bus for Washington, D.C., arriving in time to observe President Barack Obama’s second inauguration on large screens at the National Mall. They will then visit the Dr. King memorial and return to Hiram late the same day.
“We have a very engaged and committed student body, and we had no trouble filling a bus for this trip,” said Detra West, associate Dean and Director of Ethnic Diversity Affairs. “It is great that the inauguration and Dr. King’s holiday fall on the same day this year and will enable us to experience history, past and present, first hand.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the college will host a convocation, “Are We Living in a Post Racial Society?,” on the state of U.S. race relations in the 21st century. The convocation will be from noon until 1:30 p.m. in the Kennedy Center Ballroom and will feature a panel of distinguished Hiram faculty, guest faculty and community organizers.
Through interactive discussion, the panel will explore whether or not recent political and public advancements are reliable indicators that the nation has finally moved past deep racial divisions. The panel will be moderated by Doug Brattebo, assistant professor of political science.
Between Tuesday and Thursday, Jan. 24, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, the Hiram College community will also have the opportunity to participate in symbolic silent sit-ins for social justice and equality modeled after the effective lunch counter sit-ins staged by King and others during the 1960s. Participants who sign up will be seated around the Welcome Center for 30 minutes and will be able to view a documentary, complete a questionnaire, sign a social justice pledge or focus on personal items such as completing schoolwork or grading papers. The goal is to have seats filled at all times from Tuesday through Thursday so that the presence of participants will speak volumes to Hiram’s core value of diversity and inclusion.
Finally, on Thursday, Jan. 24, the celebration will conclude with a candlelight vigil from 4-4:30 p.m. The vigil will provide moments of reflection and fellowship and symbolize unity, hope and inclusion.