GOSHEN — Goshen College students were not in classes on Monday, Jan. 20, but the campus buzzed with activity to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Events included a community breakfast, literature reading, convocation address by 1971 graduate Anthony Brown and related lectures.
Indiana Rep. Rebecca Kubacki of Syracuse spoke at the breakfast, sharing thoughts on the “American Dream” as the daughter of migrant workers from Mexico.
“Being a minority, you related to what Martin Luther King said because you lived it,” she said after her speech.
Activity then moved to the student-organized Spoken-Word Coffeehouse.
Dominique Chew, a student from Hesston, Kan., concluded the literature readings with an original piece entitled, “Light on the hill.”
The piece described an experience Chew’s mother had last year after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder after he fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. The incident occurred in Florida.
Chew’s mother, a mixed-race woman, asks Chew in the piece, “when will the white folks speak up?”
The coffeehouse concluded with responses from the audience.
Voices-in-Harmony, the college’s gospel choir, opened the convocation assembly at 10 a.m. with two songs preceding Brown’s keynote address.
Brown, a musician and peace activist, began his speech with a song. He said that he first heard of King’s assassination before taking the stage as a soloist during a college choir tour.
His speech included stories from King’s life, information about changing demographics in the United States and historical changes at Goshen College related to diversity. He concluded with another song.
Later, Ivy Tech professor Irene Britt and Goshen College professor Steve Nolt gave lectures on the topics of institutional racism and women in the civil rights movement, respectively. Masters students at Goshen College gave a presentation on institutional racism.