Niagara Gazette

January 17, 2014

NU set for week of Martin Luther King events

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Niagara University is hosting a full slate of service and awareness activities in observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The event schedule, which includes community service projects and numerous discussions on social justice, is highlighted by a keynote speech by Sharaud Moore, an original Freedom Writer.

In addition to the events and initiatives listed, Niagara faculty and students will be participating in community service projects throughout the week that include reading passages from a book on Dr. King to students at Maple Avenue Elementary School and volunteering at the Heart, Love and Soul food pantry in Niagara Falls.

Events for the week:


• 7 P.M.: Mass for Peace & Justice — The Office of Campus Ministry invites the community to a special Mass in the Alumni Chapel.


• ALL DAY: 1968 Display — A commemorative display will pay tribute to 1968, the year Dr. King died. The presentation will include numerous mementos from that time, including photos of Niagara University, a listing of the top 100 Billboard songs, clothing trends, rare photos and several aspects of life experienced by college students during the era. It will be on display all day in the Gallagher Center multi-purpose room.

• ALL DAY: Youth Project — Local high school and middle school students will take part in campus tours, a Scholastic Books reading session, lunch and a panel discussion on how to achieve success as a student.

• 9:30 A.M. to 9:30 P.M. 50 Mile March for Martin — The university community will join together in an attempt to cumulatively walk 50 miles, the distance from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., where marches for voting rights and other civil rights causes were held. Treadmills will be designated in the Kiernan Center, while a DJ will be on hand from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. to play music from the 1960s interspersed with snippets of speeches by Dr. King. For each mile walked, $1 will be donated to Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

• 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Sustainable Sandals service activity — The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., Institute for Civic Engagement is hosting a service-learning activity to support the Sustainable Sandals Project, which annually distributes hundreds of thousands of gently worn sandals from the Cave of the Winds to impoverished areas across the globe. Volunteers will process the sandals in the front gym of the Kiernan Center. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

• 10:20 to 10:50 A.M. “I Have a Dream” — A video presentation and discussion of Dr. King’s famous oration in the the Gallagher Center.

• 11 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. MLK - The Other Ones —  As a way to acknowledge Dr. King’s impact on disability legislation, David Whalen, statewide project coordinator for First Responder Disability Awareness Training, hosts a disability awareness training seminar. Bisgrove Hall, Room 352. Snacks will be provided.

• NOON: Celebrating the culture of service — Professor Mitch Alegre will facilitate a discussion on community service. Student groups will briefly describe the service projects they are undertaking, and discuss how they can support each other’s efforts and foster a greater culture of servant leadership at NU. (Gallagher Center)

 2:30 to 3:50 P.M. MLK the Sociologist — Dr. Todd Schoepflin, associate professor of sociology, and NU students will hold an open presentation on race and ethnicity. (Gallagher Center)

• 6 to 7:30 P.M. Keynote address by Sharaud Moore — Moore was part of a Long Beach, Calif., high school class that in 1994 overcame their rigid beliefs and found hope through writing about their lives. The Freedom Writers, as the students called themselves, eventually told their story in a book that became a movie. (The movie will be broadcast throughout the week on the residence hall movie channel.) Castellani Art Museum.


 2:10 to 4:10 P.M. 1968 (with Tom Brokaw) — Professor Vince Agnello will facilitate a narration of footage on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement that aired on major television networks. Includes post-show discussion. Dunleavy Hall, Room 127.


• 2:30 to 3:50 P.M. Unique Perspectives on Martin Luther King’s Legacy — Dr. John Sauter Jr., assistant dean for academic affairs, will moderate a panel discussion on transracial adoption and interracial identities. Panelists include Adoption STAR’s Zack Fried, New York state vocational rehabilitation counselor Stephanie Shaw, and NU students. St. Vincent’s Hall, Room 407.

• 7 to 9 P.M. Gospel Fest — The Castellani Art Museum will serve as the site for a celebration of the musical traditions of the black church, both yesterday and today. Performances by local choirs, including one directed by Ella E. Robinson, a praise dance trio and special guests Marsha McWilson, gospel rapper Xavier Walker and the all-female band Heaven Bound.


7 P.M. Film Screening: “Betty & Coretta” — The film focuses on the extraordinary women behind the two men who would change history: Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Dr. Betty Shabazz, wife of Malcolm X. The screening and discussion will be held in Dunleavy Hall, Room 127.


• 1 P.M. Film Screening: “Soundtrack for a Revolution” — The fim tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music -the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in paddy wagons, and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality. The film features new performances of the freedom songs by top artists, including John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots; archival footage; and interviews with civil rights foot soldiers and leaders, including Congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, and Ambassador Andrew Young. The film and post-show discussion will be moderated by Hope Russell, an instructor of women’s studies. MPR.

For more information, please contact Niagara University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs at 286-8510 or