Students Honor Martin Luther King Jr. in Week of Service
January 29, 2018
Dedicated to honoring the legacy and continuing the work of Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis & Clark’s annual MLK Jr. Week featured a series of speakers, events, and opportunities for service in and around Portland from Friday, January 19 to Saturday, January 27. The week of events, led by the offices of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement and Religious and Spiritual Life, was committed to demonstrating service as a core value and tradition of Lewis & Clark.
Following a Friday evening screening of the critically acclaimed 2016 documentary film I Am Not Your Negro, the first civic engagement event took place Saturday morning. Approximately 130 Lewis & Clark students volunteered for Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day at a variety of indoor and outdoor projects, partnering with Portland organizations including the Oregon Humane Society, Call to Safety, and the Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center.
Harold McNaron, director of Student Leadership and Service, sees the week as a valuable opportunity for students to act on their social justice interests. “As King was a student, scholar, and educator, it makes sense that the Lewis & Clark community is interested in the intersections between his educational work and his other social change work,” explains McNaron. “I sense that a lot of folks on campus are looking for productive ways to connect their head, heart, and hands for social change and progress.”
Along with the service work opportunities available to students, the week honored King and other civil rights leaders with a collection of presentations and meetings that further the conversation on the struggle for racial equality and justice. On Thursday, January 25, Emmy Award-winning actor Ron Jones performed a one-man show, entitled “The Movement: 50 Years of Love and Struggle,” that explores the country’s political and cultural history following the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For the final event of the week, Student Leadership and Service provided free transportation to attend a meeting of the Portland chapter of the NAACP, an all-volunteer group working for racial and economic justice.
To McNaron, these events are a complement to the Lewis & Clark educational experience. “One of the many reasons I believe Lewis & Clark students should be taught about these historical and contemporary social movements is so that our community may be better equipped to find our place in the struggle—as individuals and as collectives.”
This story was written by Scout Brobst ’20.