Majora Carter

“The Audacity to Dream: The Courage to Act for Justice” is the theme of events at Colby Jan. 17-22 celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The keynote speaker on MLK Jr. Day, Jan. 19, is MacArthur Fellow, urban revitalization specialist, and Peabody Award-winning broadcaster Majora Carter.

The commemoration of King’s life and legacy will begin Saturday, Jan. 17, with an afternoon of community service in the Waterville area. Reflection on the day’s experiences will follow, along with the presentation of Colby’s Drum Major for Justice Award, given annually to a student who exemplifies King’s spirit with her or his contributions to social change.

The scope of MLK Jr. Day programming at Colby has increased in recent years. Tionna Haynes ’15, a planning committee member, said, “I wanted to be a part of the process that creates MLK Day programming, because it has evolved into this robust weekend. I am invested in Colby’s acknowledgement of the works of Dr. King and the civil rights movement.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 19, will feature President David A. Greene leading a campus community discussion exploring issues of diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity in both national and Colby contexts. Carter will give the keynote address, “Home(town) Security,” at 7 p.m. in Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building, and the public is welcome.

A proponent for environmental justice, Carter founded nonprofits Sustainable South Bronx and Green For All. She was host of The Promised Land, a radio talk show that won a 2010 Peabody Award in its first year. Her emotionally charged “Greening the Ghetto” TED talk was one of the first six talks to launch the TED website in 2006. Her awards and honors include accolades from the Center for American Progress, News Corp., and Goldman Sachs, and she received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, known as the “Genius Grant,” in 2005.

Additional events include a multi-faith celebration and a screening of the documentary Mountains that Take Wing—Angela Davis and Yuri Kochiyama: A Conversation on Life, Struggles, and Liberation, which follows renowned writer and activist Davis and grassroots activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kochiyama through their recorded conversations addressing topics such as Jim Crow laws, Japanese-American internment camps, prison reform, and the antiwar, women’s, and gay liberation movements.

Sandra Sohne-Johnston, director of admissions recruitment and programming and a member of the planning committee, said of the celebration, “I think what is incredibly important is that we take the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and translate those ideals into actionable items that can make our community even stronger. And that’s the theme of the weekend: to have the audacity to dream and for our students to make a difference in their own way.”

For information on all Martin Luther King Jr. Day and related events see an online list here.