MLK celebrations across area
When Oakland University opens Monday, it won't be for classes.
Instead, the 20,000 plus-student university will focus on celebrating the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
For the 23rd year, the campus will honor the slain civil rights leader and grant scholarships to five students who have "demonstrated community involvement and efforts to improve diversity," said Brian Bierley, director of media relations at the Rochester university.
"We're looking to make sure everyone feels comfortable on campus," said Bierley, explaining the school's commitment to its annual Keeper of the Dream scholarship program. "We want to learn from each other, not just in the classroom, but in the dorms and with the different groups we have on campus."
In addition to the scholarship event, which will present the five students, Aukury Cowart, Chanel Daniels, Zienab Fahs, Joseph Kirma and Taylor Moore, according to the school's website, one-time $5,000 scholarships, Oakland University this year will gather faculty and staff for a daylong workshop to study ways to better serve students, Bierley said.
Oakland is among dozens of communities and schools honoring King. The 12th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Rally & March begins at noon at the Central United Methodist Church at Woodward and Adams in Detroit. This year's theme is "From Selma to Detroit: The Struggle for Democracy, Peace and Social Justice Continues."
"We are recognizing the valiant contributions of the struggle for voting rights by Dr. King, the founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and others who paved the way for the advances gained during the 1960s and 1970s,'" according to a news release.
Organizers said the United States faces profound challenges to civil rights, human rights and economic justice since King was killed in 1968. They cite the current political battles in Michigan over living wages, municipal pensions and public services.
Other events include a "Day of Outreach" at Henry Ford College, where volunteers will work at sites and Warren City Hall will display artifacts the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.