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MLK Day Events Rooted in Education and Responsibility

Published: 01/13/2023

“In short, there are many facets of Dr. King’s work that have not been completed, and it is our responsibility to remember his life and take up his legacy to make change."

“In short, there are many facets of Dr. King’s work that have not been completed, and it is our responsibility to remember his life and take up his legacy to make change."

The Gannon Mission emphasizes “inclusiveness and social responsibility,” just a few of many words that served as bedrock principles for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he envisioned a society of freedom, equity and equality.

This Martin Luther King Day, members of the Gannon community, including Campus Ministry, the Center for Social Concerns and Global Exploration (CSCGE) and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) have collaborated to ensure that we continue to illuminate the legacy and contributions of Dr. King by supporting the MLK Center and various community events as well as providing campus programming and services.

“At Gannon, the commemoration and recognition of Dr. King provides an opportunity to further educate our community on civil rights, show our solidarity in the promotion of equal rights for all, and reinforce Dr. King’s dream of racial, social, religious, and economic equality,” says DEI Director Gerald J. James.

The value of holding these events on a college campus, and especially at Gannon, is rooted in education and responsibility. Much of Dr. King’s work was against the economic injustices that have been perpetrated against Black individuals since many of their ancestors were first enslaved. This financial disparity continued to be reinforced by federal and local policies, including restricting mortgage access for Black families, which continues to impact family and generational wealth today.

“In short, there are many facets of Dr. King’s work that have not been completed, and it is our responsibility to remember his life and take up his legacy to make change,” says Sara Nesbitt, Program Coordinator at CSCGE.

On-campus MLK Day observances have never looked the same way twice. This is mainly due to the fact that events are community-driven and based on the interests of students and other invested parties, differing from year to year. This variety is what makes each year special, something Nesbitt notes.

“We never want these observances to simply check a box,” Nesbitt says. “We want them to be alive and inspiring.”

The remembrance of Dr. King’s life, work and legacy is important to every facet of the Gannon community, and the various observances occurring next week on campus reflect that.

In addition to being closed on Monday, Jan. 16, Gannon students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to participate in a city-wide march; a poetry contest focused on ideas of equality and racial and ethnic justice; a prayer service planned by students, including the Black Student Union and the African Student Organization; and a curated multimedia event brought to campus by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Everyone can find an event that speaks to them or fits their schedule.

See the full schedule of events here, including: 

Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Prayer Service at Gannon University
Jan. 16 | 6 p.m. | Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel

City of Erie's Martin Luther King Parade
Jan. 16 | 11:45 a.m. | Starts at Perry Square at 12 p.m. 

City of Tampa’s Martin Luther King Parade
Jan. 16| 12 p.m. | Parade begins at Cuscaden Park at 2901 N. 15th St.

Key Arts Productions presents: King’s Dream at Gannon University
Jan. 19 | 5 p.m. | Yehl Ballroom

Details here.  

All media inquiries can be made by contacting Doug Oathout, Chief of Staff and Director of Marketing and Communications, at 814-871-7470 or oathout002@gannon.edu.