Taking King’s teachings global

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The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King is being celebrated at URI this week, but this week is just part of an ongoing effort to institutionalize and internationalize King’s message of nonviolence.

In January, Paul Bueno de Mesquita, director of URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, traveled to the homeland of Mohandas Gandhi to spread the teachings of King. On Jan. 18, he visited the University of Jammu (India) to deliver a speech titled “Martin Luther King Jr.- The Man, His Message and Our Future.”

Inspired by the thoughts and ideas of Gandhi, King employed his methodology of nonviolent resistance as he led civil rights movements against racial injustice and segregation in America. Bueno de Mesquita said that King embodied the spirit of nonviolence throughout his life, from the 381-day long Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 to his legendary “I Have A Dream” speech.

Intertwining the nonviolence teachings of King and Gandhi is a common practice for URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. Last summer, the center hosted the first Gandhi-King Teacher Institute, a three-day teacher-training program focused on infusing nonviolence education into the classroom.

This week, the focus is on King’s life and accomplishments. Throughout the week, all members of the URI community are encouraged to participate in the URI Martin Luther King Week of Service Challenge that asks every student, administrator, faculty, and staff member to enact the core of Dr. King’s message – to engage in an act of service. Community members are then asked to briefly describe their act of service at the Multicultural Center web page (www.uri.edu/mcc), or to submit a video. This sharing of service will allow these works to be collectively presented as a part of the URI MLK observance on YouTube.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Please download the schedule of activities for details and more information about each event and the speakers and sponsors.

Schedule of Events Overview

Tuesday, Feb. 1
4 p.m. Video and Discussion: Video excerpts from Citizen King, and discussion. Multicultural Center, Computer Classroom (005). *Postponed until Tuesday, Feb. 8, same time and place.
6 p.m. Students Discuss Service: Student Panel on Student Organization Service at URI. Panelists will discuss why they participate in service events and discuss what service projects are currently taking place at URI. Multicultural Center, Computer Classroom (005). *Postponed. It will be held in conjunction with Friday, 5 p.m. “Accelerating America” event, MCC Hardge Forum.
7 – 8.15 p.m. Interfaith Celebration: For this celebration, students, faculty and staff from diverse religious communities will come together to share readings, stories, songs, dances, prayers, meditations, and testimonies from their respective sacred traditions to commemorate the life and work of Dr. King. The evening’s special guest will be Thupten Tendar, a Buddhist Priest. Multicultural Center, Hardge Forum (101). *Postponed until Tuesday, Feb. 8, same time and place.

Wednesday, Feb. 2
12-1 p.m. Unity Luncheon. This event includes a keynote address by Rev. John Dear, author of A Persistent Peace: One Man’s Struggle for a Nonviolent World. The URI Office of the Chaplains will present the Ninth Annual Peacemaker Award honoring a student, student organization, or member of the URI academic community whose goals and activities express a commitment to the pursuit of peace and nonviolence. Memorial Union, Ballroom. *Postponed until Wendesday, Feb. 9, same time and place.
5:45-7 p.m. Sustained Dialogue Project, Multicultural Center, Conference Room (201). *Postponed until Wednesday, Feb. 9, same time and place.
7:30 p.m. Keynote Address: Rev. John Dear, “Dr. King and Creative Nonviolence – the Only Hope for the World.” Memorial Union, Ballroom. *Postponed until Wednesday, Feb. 9, same time, moved to Chafee 271.

Thursday, Feb. 3
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Women Leaders in the Nonviolence Movement, provides new perspectives on often unheralded women leaders and their contributions to the cause of global nonviolence. Multicultural Center, Hardge Forum (101).
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. — Songs for Civil Rights, URI’s “Cognitive Dissidents,” Professors Paul Bueno de Mesquita and Steve Wood, lead a musical journey in American civil rights history from slavery to the Freedom Rides, from lynching to landmark civil rights laws, and from national to international campaigns for social justice. Participants are invited to bring musical instruments and sing along. Multicultural Center, Hardge Forum (101).
4 – 5:45 p.m. – Kingian Nonviolence Workshop, led by certified Kingian nonviolence trainer, URI’s Sgt. Linda Palazzo, Supervising Campus Patrol Person, Narragansett Bay Campus Security. Multicultural Center, Hardge Forum (101).

Friday, Feb. 4
12 – 1 p.m. Yoga Class. Beginning and Intermediate Yoga, Multicultural Center, Hardge Forum (101).
5 -7 p.m. Accelerating America (Dinner and Video), Multicultural Center, Hardge Forum (101).
Saturday, Feb. 5
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Martin Luther King Day of Service. Hundreds of student volunteers are invited to gather at select sites in Providence and South Kingston for public service.

All of these events have been organized by the URI Multicultural Center, Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, Office of the Chaplains, Feinstein Center for Service Learning, Jumpstart URI, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs, Office of Student Life, Cognitive Dissidents, the Multicultural Center Dialogue Project, Anointed, Brothers On A New Direction (BOND), Hillel, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Multicultural Unity and Student Involvement Council (MUSIC), Powerful Independent Notoriously Knowledgeable (P.I.N.K.) Women, Sankofa, Student Alliance for the Welfare of Africa (SAWA), Student Nonviolent Involvement Committee (SNIC), Uhuru SaSa, Departments of Psychology and Communication Studies, Student Affairs Diversity Committee, URI Foundation, Parking Services, Printing Services, Memorial Union, and Housing and Residential Life.