Misericordia University will host a weeklong series of special events Jan. 16-21 to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The schedule includes a presentation of "The Meeting," a compelling and provocative play depicting the supposed meeting of two of the most important men of modern times, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X in 1965.
In addition, there will be an ecumenical prayer service involving participants of many different faiths and religious traditions, a Black Lives Matter student panel discussion, a performance by nationally acclaimed spoken word artist Lady Caress and the presentation of the documentary film, "Ethnic Notions," offering a look at the events leading to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. All events are open free to the public except where noted.
For the third year in a row, Misericordia University will celebrate MLK Week with a special ecumenical prayer service calling for peace and understanding in the world. The service will be held Monday at 12 noon in the University Chapel in Mercy Hall and will feature traditional prayer offerings and blessings by leaders from numerous faiths and religious traditions. Coordinators for the event are Sister Jean Messaros, RSM, vice president for mission integration, who will represent the Mercy Catholic tradition, and Rev. Jim Calderone, OFM, professor of social work, who will represent the Independent Catholic tradition. The list of presenters includes Rabbi Larry Kaplan, Temple Israel, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Jewish tradition; Dr. Ibrahim Almecky, Islamic tradition; Lalit Shah, Ed.D., O.T.R./L., professor of occupational therapy at Misericordia University, Hindu tradition; Sister Barbara Craig, RSM, Buddhist tradition; Rod Gereda, Latino Catholic tradition, and Rev. Marcelle Dotson, United Methodist tradition.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., members of the Misericordia community and the public are invited to sign the Charter for Compassion in the lobby of the Banks Student Life Center. The first paragraph of the charter states, "The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect." To see the entire text, go to charterforcompassion.org.
Throughout the day, Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech will air on television monitors across campus. All are encouraged to tweet their own pledges or MLK thoughts with the hash tag #MUDream and to tag @MisericordiaU throughout the week.
On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the public and the campus community are invited to sign the United Nations Pledge Against Racism, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the lobby of the Banks Student Life Center. The pledge reads, "As a citizen of the world community, I stand with the United Nations against racism, discrimination and intolerance of any kind. Throughout my life, I will try to promote equality, justice and dignity among all people in my home, my community and everywhere in the world." The project is being coordinated by Campus Ministry. The pledge forms will be sent with others from around the country to the United Nations as part of MLK Week activities.
In addition, Misericordia University and Metz Culinary Management will offer soul food menu items for students and patrons who purchase their lunch in the John and Mary Metz Dining Hall from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
"Black Lives Matter," a student panel discussion will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Huntzinger and Alden Trust Rooms 218-219 of Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall. The panelists include Misericordia University students Lena Williams, a junior communications major from Harrisburg; Trever Reed, a sophomore in the physical therapy program from Gaithersburg, Maryland; Tyler Lamberson, a senior business administration and sport management major from Allen, Texas; and sophomore sport management majors Ricky Williams from Allentown, and Devin Oyola from Ewing, New Jersey. Dan Kimbrough, assistant professor of communications, will serve as facilitator.
On Wednesday, Jan. 18, the university will host a showing of the film, "Ethnic Notions," at 12 p.m. in Rooms 218-219 Insalaco Hall. The film examines anti-black stereotypes that permeated popular culture from the ante-bellum period until the advent of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. James Calderone, Ed.D., professor of social work, will lead a discussion following the film. Participants are invited to bring their lunch to the program.
The theatrical presentation of "The Meeting," will take place on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall. The play, written by Jeff Stetson and directed by Larkis Weber, depicts the supposed meeting between Dr. King and Malcolm X, where they discussed their philosophies and contrasting approaches to gaining equal rights for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement.
The cast includes actor and writer Weber, as Malcolm X, Micaiah Jones as Rashad, and Doug Goldman as Dr. King. Weber attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, and is the founder and creator of the theatrics company Evolutionary Art Works. He has extensive acting experience, and trained under artistic director Willie Abny at the Hansberry-Sands Theater Company in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Jones is a Baltimore native and veteran actor who has appeared as Little Man in the HBO series, "The Wire," and Lucky in "Thug Life: All In The Game." He has contributed to numerous projects for HBO both in front of and behind the camera.
Goldman is a recognized musician for 37 years, who received his acting training at Morgan State University and with the Baltimore Arena Players, the oldest continuously operating African-American community theater in the United States. He has performed in numerous productions, including "A Raisin in the Sun" and "Carmen Jones," and has appeared on television in "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and in numerous commercials.
The weeklong program will conclude with a performance by poet Lady Caress on Saturday, Jan. 21 from 9-10 p.m. in the Cougar's Den of the Banks Student Life Center. Lady Caress is a theatrical and spoken word poet who offers a mesmerizing performance with a unique mix of comedy, music, beat boxing and theatrics. She has designed and executed public speaking and poetry workshops for Upward Bound, Y.M.C.A., and organizations designed to bring extra-curricular activities to at-risk youth.