By Katie Neitz

Lafayette students, faculty, staff—and a few special guests—gathered together the first week of spring semester to celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. The eighth annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Luncheon was sponsored by the Offices of Intercultural Development, Religious and Spiritual Life, and the Association of Black Collegians (ABC).

Fourth and fifth grade students from March Elementary School on College Hill (known as “Little Leopards”) entertained and educated the audience with skits about King and his pivotal role in the civil rights movement.

President Alison Byerly, College Chaplain the Rev. Alex Hendrickson, and Tyler Cook ’21, president of ABC, provided opening remarks and reflection before introducing the March Elementary School guests, including principal Daniel Gonzalez and teacher Jack Repash.

“On a day such as this it is important for us to honor MLK, and remember what a powerful and historic figure he was,” said Cook, who noted that ABC’s goal is to provide a network and to foster the intellectual, social, and cultural growth of black students at Lafayette.

Byerly shared how important and appropriate it is for educational institutions to honor the legacy of King, as he viewed education as one of the pillars for correcting injustice in the world. 

“He recognized that creating equity is not just a matter of the law, it’s a matter of creating opportunity,” she said. “Equality of opportunity is fundamental to rectifying injustices that have occurred in the past. It was an important part of his work to foster educational opportunities at all levels.”

Louis Wingfield III ’22, vice president of ABC, delivered closing remarks, in which he encouraged the audience to carry the spirit of the occasion with them in their everyday lives. 

“It does not end here,” he said. “Remember in your hearts, you have so much impact on everyone around you. Make sure you make this the best of the month, the best year. Every time you step outside, make sure you share your best self with others.”

Organizers of the memorial luncheon also promoted upcoming activities for Black Heritage Month, which will be celebrated on campus throughout February.

Categorized in: Campus life, Community, Diversity, Featured News, Intercultural Experience, News and Features