College Celebrates MLK Jr. with Month-Long Programming

January 16, 2019

By Laura Lemire

Throughout the month of January, Saint Anselm College will pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy with a series of events. This year’s programming theme, “Just Take the First Step,” represents the MLK Jr. Planning Committee’s hope that event attendees feel empowered to embark on a journey towards progress and change.

“What I hope that attendees take from our events is a reminder that by taking the first step, and the next step, you can continue to make progress (in anything that you are trying to achieve) as long as you have faith that there will be another step waiting for you,” says Intercultural Center Director and MLK Jr. Planning Committee Chair Wayne Currie.

The 26 events planned by this year’s dedicated committee involve the collaboration of many campus departments and offices, demonstrating the entire community’s commitment to honoring Dr. King. The diverse programming schedule includes film and book discussions, concerts, lectures and a digital exhibition.

This year’s celebration will kick off with the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner on January 22, featuring special guest and keynote speaker Melanie Levesque, New Hampshire’s first African American state senator. “The theme ‘Just Take the First Step’ truly applies to her, so we’re really excited about having her on campus,” says Currie of Levesque’s stellar credentials as a businesswoman and role model.

A Nashua, New Hampshire native, Levesque was voted into office during the 2018 November elections. In addition to her role as state senator for district 12, Levesque is the co-founder and president of Telecommunications Consulting Service (TCS) of America. She earned her associate degree from Nashua Community College, bachelor’s degree in business from Daniel Webster College, and master’s in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She’s previously worked at Digital Equipment Corporation, Packard Bell/NEC, Professional Development Group (PDG), and AT&T holding positions in sales, training, and management. Through her work as a former three-term New Hampshire state representative, she sponsored and passed New Hampshire’s statewide Emergency Notification System and served on the Election Law and Science, Technology, and Energy Committees.

New to programming this year is a performance by the Archdiocese of Boston Black Catholic Choir at the Dana Center for the Humanities on Friday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m. The 19-member group is known for their renditions of old Gospel music and spirituals such as “Every Praise” and “He’s an On Time God.”

Throughout the month, the Geisel Library is offering a digital exhibition portraying the life and activism of Dr. King. Those interested in perusing the photographs and additional resources may access the gallery online. In February, a new digital exhibition, “African American Voices: Jacob Lawrence,” will be featured highlighting the prolific artist from the mid-twentieth century.

Another unique event this year is a screening of the film “The Edge of Each Other’s Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde” on January 23 in the Jean Student Center Auditorium, which will begin a celebration of the inspiring author and civil rights activist, Audre Lorde. A dinner and discussion in the Living Learning Commons (LLC) will follow.

Currie is also excited about the Latinx, the Bible, and Migration panel discussion on Monday, January 28 at 7:30 in Goulet’s Perini Lecture Hall. The presentation will feature Drs. Jacqueline Hidalgo of Williams College, Eric Barreto of Princeton Theological Seminary, and Ahida Pilarski and Gilberto Ruiz of Saint Anselm’s theology department.

Other events include a public debate by the college’s debate team, a panel discussion on African American activist Mary Church Terrell, and an MLK Jr. vigil and march at the Abbey Church.

See the full schedule of events.

2019 MLK Jr. Planning Committee
Christopher Bruell (criminal justice), Wayne Currie (Intercultural Center), Shannon Dewar (Residence Life), Christine Drew (Meelia Center for Community Engagement), Nathan Duplessis ’22, Rina Ficek (Intercultural Center), Kathryn Gabert ’19, Fr. Stephen Lawson (Office of Campus Ministry), Ariana LoFaro ’22, Farid Marwanda, David McKillop (Student Engagement and Leadership), Caitlin Merrill ’22, Susan-Caitlin Seavey ’20, Anne Thenin (modern languages and literatures), Sarah Tropeano ’20, Derk Wierda (chemistry).

2019 Sponsors
Campus Activity Board (CAB), Campus Ministry, Catholic Social teaching Fund, Conversatio, Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Fund, English Department, Fine Arts Department, French Club, Geisel Library, Gender Studies, Grappone Humanities Institute, History Department, Honors Program, Intercultural Center, Latin American Studies Minor, Meelia Center for Community Engagement, Multicultural Student Coalition, MLK Jr. Planning Committee, Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Philosophy Club, Peace and Justice Studies, Politics Department, Residential Life, Saint Anselm College Baseball Team, Sociology and Social Work Department, Student Engagement and Leadership, TEDA, Theology Department.