MLK day festivities coming to the SURC

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Julia Moreno, News Editor

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Central Washington University students will join local elementary schools next week to celebrate and remember Martin Luther King Jr.

Around 400 students from the second grade to the fifth grade from Kittitas County Elementary school will be participating in activities in the SURC ballroom this week.

Jasmine Gonzalez, accounting major and junior at CWU, said she is excited to work with the students from the elementary school. She’s part of the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement. The CLCE is one of a many campus organizations helping out for the event.

“I love working with kids,” Gonzalez said.

The students will participate in different activities depending on what year they are in school.

For example, students will work on writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr., writing an essay on what is “just” versus “unjust.” There will also be a discrimination skits for the students to participate in.

Kendyl Hardy, nonprofit management and senior, said she is really excited for the event because “the leaders have worked really hard.”

“[I’m] hoping it will be a good time,” Hardy said.

The event was created seven years ago by the Africana and Black Studies Director and program faculty at the request of students enrolled in the ABS minor and students who participated in the Living Learning Community, Students for the Dream, according to Keith Champagne, associate dean of Student Development. The Students for the Dream LLC is open to students from all backgrounds who embrace and adhere to the philosophy and core values of MLK.

Additionally a peace march on Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m. starting at the SURC Pit, and Associate Professor of Sociology, Michael Harrod, will be the keynote speaker on Jan. 14.

“I will be talking about the roots of mass incarceration within the U.S. I will be focusing my attention on what changed in America that led to the boom of people being incarcerated,” Harrod said. “Specifically, this change has had a devastating impact on communities of color.”

Harrod is involved with the year-long talks about Mass Incarceration currently going on campus. He said his experience in criminology and interest in social justice issues are what led him to be interested in being a key-note speaker.

However, not all of the faculty at Central has expressed interest in the MLK event that started in 2009, Champagne said.

“We have not had major support from the university community,” Champagne said.“Those who attend and participate in the week’s programs and activities are members of the CWU student body and local Ellensburg community.

Champagne added that the event has never had a large group of faculty to embrace or participate in the annual celebration.

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MLK day festivities coming to the SURC