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When our moral courage is tested

By Rachel Barnett

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an exceptional pastor and inspiring Civil Rights activist.  His writings and speeches were as thoughtful as they were eloquent.  Dr. King called upon us to stand up for injustice in all its forms, because he recognized that “a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  He showed us how those threats could be tempered through nonviolent resistance, and inspired us to imagine modern society through his “I have a dream” speech.  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day offers us an opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate Dr. King’s life, work, and actions. 

There are many activities that you can take part in to reflect on the life and work of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  In addition to the City of Dayton MLK march on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, there are many additional events you can participate in throughout the month of January to celebrate and reflect upon Dr. King’s work.  As you consider what events to pencil in to your schedule, know that the University Libraries has co-sponsored activities that connect contemporary events to social justice issues that were once fought for through the sacrifices made by activists such as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

University Libraries has partnered with the Human Rights Center to exhibit “Ferguson Voices: Disrupting the Frame” from January 17 – February 3, 2017.  Ferguson Voices is the work of the Moral Courage Project, a team of UD students and program coordinators that conducted innovative oral history research in Ferguson, Missouri in May 2016 to capture portraits and compelling audio recordings that fracture the dominant narrative that surrounds the events of Ferguson, Missouri.  The exhibit highlights the contributions of average people who found the courage to stand up during moments of unrest.  A reception will be held on Friday January 20, 2017 from 4-6pm where you will have the opportunity to speak with Jimmie Briggs, activist, author, and co-coordinator of the Moral Courage Project. 

University Libraries is also partnering with the Office of Multicultural Affairs to screen and discuss the film “P.S. I Can’t Breathe” on Thursday January 26, 2017 at 6:30pm in the Roesch Library Collab.  This film is a raw, uncensored glimpse into the Million Man March in New York City that called attention to the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police.  Protesters describe the depths of hurt and anger in the community, along with their hope for justice and suggestions for solutions to inspire the change many wish to see.  Following the screening, staff and graduate students from the Office of Multicultural Affairs will facilitate dialogue to discuss the film and its contents.

University Libraries will also collaborate to host a workshop entitled “Upstander Workshop: Responding to Crisis” on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 6:30pm in the Roesch Library Collab.  This interactive program will focus on how we can address aggression and discrimination while standing up for what is right.  Leora Kahn, executive director of PROOF and co-coordinator of the Moral Courage Project will facilitate along with members of the UD community.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenges us to act:

“If you can’t fly, then run,

if you can’t run, then walk,

if you can’t walk, then crawl,

but whatever you do,

you have to keep moving forward.”

There are times when our moral courage is tested.  Let’s show Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that we have the strength to keep moving forward.

- Rachel Barnett, Evening Access Services Specialist

The image used in this post is of the memorial commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.'s visit to University of Dayton in 1964. It is near the Immaculate Conception Chapel and the Frericks Center, formerly the University of Dayton Fieldhouse, where King delivered his speech. 

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