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Martin Luther King Jr. symposium expands into weeklong commemoration

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor
(217) 333-5491; melissa@illinois.edu

1/7/2000
  
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Study circles, hate groups and zero-tolerance policies aimed at curbing school violence are just a few of the topics that will be explored during the University of Illinois’ third annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Symposium.

“Living the Dream in the New Millennium” is the theme of the expanded, weeklong symposium, scheduled to take place Jan. 17-23 on campus and at various community locations.  This year’s event is hosted by the university’s African-American Cultural Program and co-sponsored by the Afro-American Studies and Research Program, the George A. Miller Committee and about 30 other campus units.

“This year our committee’s goal is to bring the campus and community together in collaborative ways to address Dr. King’s vision of a ‘Beloved Community,’ ” said AACP director Nathaniel Banks, who is also chair of the campuswide committee that organized this year’s activities.  “The King symposium should be a way for the academic community to apply its knowledge in the larger community for the betterment of all.”

The symposium begins with a student panel discussion on a timely topic that has generated great debate and media attention locally and nationally:  the Decatur, Ill., school board’s expulsion of six teens involved in a brawl at a high school football game.

Keynote speakers will be Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., and Charles Henry, professor of African American studies, University of California at Berkeley.

In addition to talks and panel presentations on a range of topics related to
civil-rights issues, other symposium activities planned include film showings, a community-service project involving U. of I. students and area high school students, a march and candlelight vigil, and a community forum.

Two displays also will be on view Jan. 17-23:

• “Legacy of a Millennium,” located in the lobbies of the Peabody Drive Residence Halls, featuring highlights of King’s life, presented with parallel timelines for the U. of I. campus, Champaign-Urbana community and the nation.

• “Making a Commitment for the New Millennium,” an interactive exhibit that invites members of the community to take a stand for civil rights and justice by signing posters located in undergraduate residence halls, area churches and offices of
Champaign-Urbana government and civic organizations.

All symposium events are free and open to the public.  Scheduled activities include:

• Jan. 17: (Monday):  “The Climate of Decatur:  A Look at Zero Tolerance,” student panel and discussion moderated by U. of I. graduate student Chandra Gill, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 407 Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana.

• Jan. 17: opening keynote address, Wade Henderson, executive director, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Rooms B and C, Illini Union.

• Jan. 17:  “Local Attempts at Racial Reconciliation:  A Report on Study Circles,” presented by Denise Kennedy Bell, human relations officer, city of Champaign, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., 314 A Illini Union.

• Jan. 17:  “Race in the 21st Century,” panel discussion among black U. of I. faculty and staff members, moderated by U. of I. graduate student Marwin Spiller, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., 314 B Illini Union.

• Jan. 17:  “Examining Myself When It Comes to Race,” Joycelyn Landrum-Brown, U. of I. Counseling Center, and Steven Thomas, Illini Union Student Programs and Activities, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., 314 A Illini Union.

• Jan. 17:  “The State of Afro-American Studies:  What the Students Think,” panel discussion moderated by U. of I. graduate student Dionne Danns, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., 314 B Illini Union.

• Jan. 17:  reception, 4:30 p.m., Illini Union South Lounge.

• Jan. 17:  “I Have a Dream,” dramatic reading by Allen Hall students, 7 p.m., Allen Hall main lounge, 1005 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana.

• Jan. 17:  discussion of “The Dream Today,” 8 p.m., Allen Hall main lounge.

• Jan. 18:  “Hate Groups:  The Latest Information,” U. of I. discipline officer Kipp Cox, 7:30 p.m., Garner Hall main lounge, 201 E. Gregory Drive, Champaign.

• Jan. 18:  black history “Jeopardy,” sponsored by Salongo and Ewezo student groups, 7:30 p.m., Saunders Hall lounge, 906 W. College Court, Urbana.

• Jan. 18:  “Eyes on the Prize,” film showing, 8 p.m., Allen Hall main lounge.

• Jan. 19:  “Equity in Education:  The Local Scene,” Laura Haber, assistant director, Allen Hall, 8 p.m., Allen Hall main lounge.

• Jan. 20:  closing keynote address, “The Ralph Bunche Papers,” Charles Henry, professor of African American studies, University of California at Berkeley, 7:30 p.m., Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana.

• Jan. 20, “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes:  Eye of the Storm,” video presentation, 9 p.m., Allen Hall main lounge.

• Jan. 22:  joint community-service project involving U. of I. students and area high school students, coordinated by the U. of I. Office of Volunteer Programs and the United Way Volunteer Center, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., TIMES Center, Champaign.

• Jan. 23:  communitywide unity march/candlelight vigil, 3 p.m., Illini Union Circle Drive.

• Jan. 23:  community forum on “Strategies for Realizing the Dream of ‘The  Beloved Community’ in the Next Millennium,” 5 p.m. Douglass Community Center, 512 E. Grove St., Champaign.

• Jan. 23:  community reception, 6:30 p.m. Douglass Community Center.