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MLK events begin with special College Coffee

The Office of Student Activities sponsored the "Civil Rights Arts Festival & College Coffee" featuring photography by an N.C. artist.

Artist Todd Drake speaks Jan. 15 with Elaine Turner, director of Residence Life at Elon University.


Dozens of students, faculty and staff took part Tuesday in a special College Coffee, the first in a series of university cultural and service events this month to honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sponsored by the Office of Student Activities, "Civil Rights Arts Festival & College Coffee" featured muffins and coffee in Hearth Lounge where visitors were greeted by photographs by a North Carolina artist whose said his goals are to "confront stereotypes" of ethnic minorities in the state.

An artist in residence at UNC Chapel Hill’s Center for Global Initiatives, many of Todd Drake's portraits featured images of Muslims living in North Carolina who face persistent misunderstanding and suspicion by the broader community. A few photographs portrayed immigrants to the state that Drake described as the "backbone" of North Carolina agriculture.

"I'm trying to share their life stories to provoke us to thank about their treatments," Drake said.

Leon Williams, director of the Multicultural Center, said this is the second year for a special College Coffee scheduled for the days leading up to the holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader. He wanted the theme of the College Coffee to be one of confronting oppression in all its forms - individual, institutional or structural - and to break away from diversity being about "black and white."

"The goal is to remind us that Dr. King's fight for human rights can be found in the narratives of all people," Williams said. "And what we really need to talk about is what oppression feels like. We all can relate to emotions, loneliness, pain, suffering and depression."

A special College Coffee in Hearth Lounge was the first in a series of events this month to honor the life of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The King celebrations continue on campus Wednesday when Dale P. Andrews, the distinguished professor of homiletics, social justice, and practical theology at Vanderbilt University, serves as the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program keynote speaker on the timely topic, “His Past. Your Future. One Dream.”

The program will also recognize the winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Essay Contest. This event is sponsored by the Multicultural Center.

Eric Townsend,
1/15/2013 4:42 PM