Hundreds of Bucknell University students, faculty and staff gathered outside Vaughan Literature Building on Wednesday, April 4, to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The gathering, coordinated by the President's Diversity Council and the MLK Week Committee, marked the 50th anniversary of the influential civil rights leader's assassination and nearly 60 years since his April 1958 chapel sermon at Bucknell, and included a moment of silence in King's memory. But the organizers of the event did not wish to only commemorate the past; they asked attendees to consider how the struggles in which King engaged remain with us today.
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"The story of King's life and death requires a reckoning with the reality of what is happening today, right here and right now," Carmen Henne-Ochoa, the University's diversity & inclusion fellow, said at the noontime event. "With others, I believe that this reckoning can happen, and it is happening right here, right now, starting with you all being here."
As Lewisburg community member Joanne Henry and Mukta Phatak '18 performed traditional spirituals and freedom songs, attendees were asked to ponder cards containing photographs of contemporary figures, including victims of violence in Las Vegas, Charleston, S.C., and Benton, Ky. Following the ceremony, attendees were invited to write reflections about King's legacy or contemporary and historical issues related to King's teachings. They will be posted on campus at a later date.
Read more about how Bucknell honors King's legacy here.