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MLK Program Kicks off with First Diversity Speaker, Donna Brazile

December 20, 2016

Laura Lemire
Communications and Marketing
(781) 975-0837

Donna Brazile will speak at Saint Anselm CollegeOn Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 4:30 p.m., interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile will speak at Saint Anselm College's inaugural Diversity Speaker Series and annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner, which kicks off the college's Martin Luther King, Jr. programming.

"The inauguration of the ‘Diversity Speakers Series' crystalizes the work and hope of the President's Steering Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness to have an annual event where the Anselmian community gathers to listen to the voice and experience of a nationally recognized figure in the area of diversity," says Ahida Pilarski, theology professor and chair of the President's Steering Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness (PSCDI).

The series is the result of Pilarski and the PSCDI's work to advance the understanding of, and commitment to, a more diverse and inclusive community. The goal is to hold two events each year featuring national figures.

"We joyfully welcome these events, and many other collaborative efforts in this area because diversity and inclusiveness enrich us and strengthen us all as a community - locally, nationally, and globally," says Pilarski.

Brazile, a political strategist, author, and television political commentator, was instrumental in the efforts to make Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday in the early ‘80s. She was the first African American to direct a major presidential campaign (as campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000), and is currently acting chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.

"Throughout her life, Ms. Brazile has demonstrated a commitment to social justice, and she has been a champion in advocating for the role of all citizens in a democracy," says Pilarski. "We truly look forward to listening to her words of wisdom on how to advance a society where equity and justice for all are foundational."

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner is a student-led event which brings the college community together to celebrate Dr. King and his legacy. In addition to Brazile's speech, the dinner will include the announcement of this year's Social Justice Award recipients: two Anselmians who exhibit outstanding leadership, compassion, and courage as they work towards eliminating discrimination, oppression, and injustice. It is also the first event in a series that will take place over six weeks, including multiple panel and film discussions, a book display, a community service event, and several guest speakers.

This year's theme, "Unity, Not Uniformity," is derived from Dr. King's famous statement that "Unity has never meant uniformity." The 16-member committee is excited about this year's lineup of events, which they hope will be both engaging and educational.

Wayne Currie, director of the Multicultural Center and Education Services, wants students, faculty, and staff to come away from events with a new perspective, having learned something new that broadens their experience.

Several new events this year incorporate interactive components, such as the English and Fine Arts department's three-part series on 20th century African-American music beginning with jazz and blues, and concluding with hip-hop. The presentations, beginning on Monday, Jan. 23, will explore the music's cultural, historical, political and aesthetic dimensions.

On Monday, Feb. 20, college alumni working in law enforcement will return to campus for a panel discussion with current students about the state of police and community relations. Nationally known poet Tiana Clark, who writes about race, sexuality, and identity, will be speaking at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on Tuesday, Jan. 31. On Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 30 and 31, the Meelia Center for Community Engagement invites students, faculty, and staff to volunteer at Access Academy's opening program.

"This year's program is going to be very engaging," says student committee member and SGA president Emma Bishop '18. "The planning committee has been working hard to bring unique programs onto campus to recognize and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy."

Full Schedule of Events


  • Wednesday, Jan. 18, 4:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner (Davison Hall): Open to the Saint Anselm College community only. Registration is now closed.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 18 - Friday, Feb. 24, Book Display: Pioneers in African American History (Geisel Library)
  • Thursday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m., Film Discussion: "Birth of a Nation," (Dana 1D)
  • Monday, Jan. 23, 3:30 p.m., Part One, The Last Holiday- A Three-Part Interactive Presentation on Black Music (Dana 1D)
  • Thursday, Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m., Lucubrations Open Mic Night (LLC)
  • Monday, Jan. 30, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., Community Service Opportunity
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., Community Service Opportunity
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31, 6 p.m., Poet Tiana Clark (NHIOP)
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31, 5 p.m., Paint Bar Night (LLC)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 1, 9 p.m., Campus Mass, Saint John's Bible Connection (Abbey Church)
  • Wednesday, Feb 1, 6 p.m., Joining with Community for Social Justice (NHIOP, West Wing)
  • Thursday, Feb, 2, 7 p.m., Film Discussion: The Loving Story (Dana 1D)
  • Monday, Feb. 6, 3:30 p.m., Part Two, The Last Holiday- A Three-Part Interactive Presentation on Black Music (Dana 1D)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 8, 12:30 p.m., Book Discussion: "Another Brooklyn" by Jacqueline Woodson (Geisel Library Reading Room)
  • Thursday, Feb. 9, 6 p.m., College Debate Team (Perini Lecture Hall)
  • Saturday, Feb. 11, 8:30 p.m., Magician Ran'd Shine (Dana Center, Koonz Theatre)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, 6 p.m., Film and Discussion: "13th" (Dana 1D)
  • Monday, Feb. 20, 4 p.m., Police and Community Relations Panel Discussion (NHIOP)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 3:30 p.m., James Baldwin: Collected Essay (Dana 1D)
  • Monday, Feb. 27, 3:30 p.m., Part Three, The Last Holiday- A Three-Part Interactive Presentation on Black Music (Dana 1D)

Sponsors
Multicultural Center and Education Services, Bean Foundation, Campus Ministry, Criminal Justice Department, Debate Team, English Department, Gender Studies, Geisel Library, Lucubrations, Meelia Center for Community Engagement, Multicultural Student Coalition, New Hampshire Institute of Politics, President's Steering Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness, Sociology & Social Work Department, Student Activities & Leadership, and Student Government Association (SGA)

2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Planning Committee
Emma Bishop '18, Christopher Bruell (criminal justice), Renee Crawford (finance), Wayne Currie (committee chair, Multicultural Center), Kyle Forgit '18, Donna Hume (Academic Dean's Office), Ahida Pilarski (PSCDI), Jacques Plante (finance), Sarah Catherine Richardson (Campus Ministry), Beth Salerno (history), Rebecca Senna (Multicultural Center), Mitchell Steffey (Student Activities and Leadership Programs), Donald Stokes '17, Sheila Ramirez '18, Jennifer Thorn (English, gender studies), David Trumble (Debate Team)

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