MLK Day at Bates…

Hey all. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Today is a very special day on campus as we Batesies celebrate the holiday in our own unique way.

Classes are cancelled every MLK day at Bates so the community can come together to learn and share Dr. King’s ideals of equality and justice through workshops, speeches, concerts, and presentations right here on campus. 

The Bates tradition is better explained in an email sent out to all Bates students that reads, “Bates is unique in suspending classes on the Monday holiday to host presentations all day and evening.  Few colleges do likewise.  This decision and practice is associated with Bates’ long history, since it founding, in justice matters.  Each student here is part of a legacy that has promoted freedom over many decades, especially in times and examples when  some matters [were] not always popular.  The campus coming together to support that legacy, and focus on new and current issues is, fortunately, a part of Bates.

Each year, there is a new theme for the day that revolves around and focuses on equality and justice. This year’s theme is: Inaugurating Change:  Where Do We Go From Here. 

Some highlights of today include a keynote address from Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, 21 workshops spread out over 3 time sessions, a concert this evening with “music, dance, theater, and spoken-word pieces” presented by Bates students, and much more. Click here for a complete list of the workshops. For more information on the ‘Inaugurating Change’ theme and on Melissa Harris-Lacewell click here. Click here for a complete schedule of all the day’s events. Click here to learn more about prior MLK holidays at Bates.

I think it is truly special that Bates celebrates this important holiday in such a unique and memorable way. It is nice to have the day off from classes to be able to attend these workshops and other special events to learn more about the world around us outside of the classroom and to get a better understanding and a more thorough appreciation for the principles on which Bates was founded.

Today is a good day to reflect on the history of the United States as well as the future of our nation as President-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated tomorrow. 

mlk_flag_opt(Photo courtesy of: http://www.madisonvoices.com/mlk/images/mlk_flag_opt.jpg)

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