Luther hosts ‘Dream Week’ Jan. 10-19

Luther College will host Dream Week to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 10–19. Events, activities and community outreach are planned throughout the week to remember King’s work and legacy and to examine the state of racism, bias, inequity and injustice in the world.

Dr. Keona K. Ervin, a professor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies at Bowdoin College and former Luther assistant professor of history and Africana Studies, will give this year’s Martin Luther King Lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, in the Center for Faith and Life’s Main Hall. The lecture, Insurgent Black Study: A Brief History of the Present, will trace the genealogy of struggles for freedom, power and liberation within Black studies and Black feminist studies. The lecture is sponsored by the Williams Endowment Fund and the Luther identity studies department.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Ervin to Luther to give this year’s MLK Lecture,” said Char Kunkel, head of the identity studies department at Luther. “She brings an intersectional lens to her social justice activism by looking at racism, gender and sexuality inequities. She reminds us that we have not yet fully achieved the dream of social justice and that we must look ahead in the fight for equality.”

“In its second year, Dream Week provides an opportunity to build upon the ideals of community and belonging,” said Robert Clay, chief equity and inclusion officer and assistant to the president for community engagement at Luther. “Dr. King once said, ‘There is another element that must be present in our struggle that then makes our resistance and nonviolence truly meaningful . . . our ultimate end must be the creation of the beloved community.’”

Wednesday, Jan. 10, The F Word: Stories of Forgiveness will open with a gallery reception at 4 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life. The exhibition, which opens as part of Dream Week, will be displayed in the CFL through Jan. 24. The exhibit is a program through The Forgiveness Project and features thought-provoking images and personal narratives exploring forgiveness in the face of atrocity.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday,  Jan. 16, in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall, students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to A Conversation on Racial Healing. This event is in recognition of the National Day of Racial Healing, which calls on colleges and universities across the country to engage in activities, events and strategies that promote healing and foster engagement around the issues of racism, bias, inequity and injustice in our society.

On Thursday, Jan. 18,  Luther community members will read books to area elementary school students about service, leadership, justice, civility and diversity.

There also will be chapel services in the CFL Main Hall, including a service remembering MLK at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, to honor King’s legacy. At 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 19, the community is welcome to attend a service lamenting racism. This special service will inspire all in attendance to recognize and work to repair the harm caused by racism and to recommit to doing the work of repair and restoration.

“It is my hope that through the program offerings and partnerships established throughout Dream Week, we can pause, reflect and answer the questions: Where are we now? Where must we go? What must be done? And more importantly, what can I do to create a just and equitable society for all of us?” Clay said.


About the Williams Endowment Fund for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture

Luther College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Lecture began in 1987 to provide ongoing scholarly conversation about the struggle for human rights in the United States. It is supported by the Williams Endowment Fund, named in recognition of Lawrence and Queen Williams for their dedication and years of service to Luther. The endowment assures the continuation of the college’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture. Lawrence Williams planned and solicited funding for more than 20 of these lectures throughout his career as a Luther faculty member. His dedication to the lecture series reflected a commitment to understanding civil rights that went beyond academic study. Williams’ personal experiences with the civil rights movement and its protests allowed him to share a firsthand perspective with students, and his acquaintance with civil rights leaders brought extraordinary people to campus to share their lives and stories.

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