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Campus honors MLK Day with ‘day on’ of justice dialogues, service

Laura Haley
Staff Writer

On the morning of Jan. 15, students, faculty and staff kicked off Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day by hearing from keynote speaker, activist Natalie Warne. Drawing on her personal journey of becoming a social rights activist, Warne said, “instead of choosing fear, instead of feeling paralyzed by what is going on, continue to choose forward movement and action, to continue to choose persistent engagement and mobilization.”

Through sharing her experiences, Warne’s goal was to encourage individuals of all ages to work for justice. Continuing with the idea of ways to get involved, Warne asked the audience to question creative protests within the communities closest to us.

“A creative protest is a relevant, new and creative approach that you’re taking to tackle the justices of our time,” said Warne. With this, Warne continued to point out that communities should become more aware of the surrounding issues and address needs that should be taken care of within the community.

Throughout the day, students were encouraged to take advantage of numerous dialogues and service opportunities on campus. During the panel “Social Justice: Past, Present and Future,” panelists reflected on social justice in the past within the United States and analyzed the direction and promotion of social justice within the College community and the city of Wooster. The panel included members of the Wooster community, such as captain of the city’s police department Scott Rotolo, former NAACP President Juanita Green, Wooster alumni Scott Gregory, President Sarah Bolton and others. Similarly to keynote speaker Warne, these panelists concentrated some of their time on how individuals can become involved and what it takes to be knowledgeable of social rights issues. Green acknowledged that the use of modern technology can be vital to reaching broadening audiences.

“Use social media to push forward a positive agenda that we all are going to benefit from,” said Green. Bolton agreed with Green’s approach by adding, “being able to see in an honest way what is being in action structurally, systematically and individually is the first step, if you don’t see, you can’t move.” Bolton, as well as all faculty and staff, encouraged students to take action this MLK Day of remembrance.

Continuing with the tradition of MLK Day, students, faculty and staff joined together to recognize the need in the community and donate their time and talents. Meg Heller ’18 explained why students should reach out to the visible needs of the community.

“Service was something MLK was extremely passionate about… and being able to honor him through that is incredibly important,” said Heller. While volunteering her day at Flex for Good, Heller organized volunteers and sorted goods to be donated.

“[Volunteering] also creates this great jumping-off point for people for the semester, getting off to a great start, doing a volunteer project, seeing how we can help out in our community and then finding ways we can continue that throughout the semester,” said Heller.

Honoring what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pushed for, the Wooster community came together to complete a “day on” of service while acknowledging the needs of the community and future procedures to enact social justice.

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