Alma College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Week—to be celebrated Jan. 15–21, 2012—features a variety of events celebrating the legacy of the civil rights leader and his message of peace and acceptance.
Tim Wise, an anti-racism activist, author and educator who has spoken at more than 400 college campuses throughout his career, will deliver the keynote address.
“He embodies the idea that concepts of race in the United States are built around that invisible idea of white privilege, and that we are all, in the United States, inheritors of a troubled legacy,” says Laura von Wallmenich, assistant professor of English. “Racial equality and racial justice is a banner all peoples in this country can and should embrace.”
Wise speaks at 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16 in the Remick Heritage Center. Admission is free and open to the public. No ticket is required.
His speech is titled “Color Blind: Barack Obama, Post-Racial Liberalism and the Retreat from Racial Equality.” He will discuss his opposition to racial “colorblindness,” arguing that we must acknowledge diversity in order to have social equality.
“Wise is thought-provoking and at times controversial, but in the same sense that civil rights leaders like Dr. King were controversial,” explains von Wallmenich. “Wise addresses root causes, and thus he can unsettle us. Wise speaks not to history, but to today, and that means that he argues that we are not ‘over’ race, not ‘beyond’ the period where we need to work on addressing the legacies of racial injustice that have shaped our present day.”
Other events during the week include a campus blood drive and marrow registry from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, and a Community Café at First Presbyterian Church in Alma from 4:45 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19.
On Saturday, Jan. 21, students will also assist with Special Olympics from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Shepherd High School and Kids’ Night Out from 6 to 9:45 p.m. at Alma High School.