For the first time at Highline College, organizers have built in a community service day during the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week, set to take place Jan. 20-24, 2020.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20, 2020, Highline staff members will take 35 students to Seattle to participate in a day of service with the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition. Lunch, transportation and t-shirts will be provided to students.
“We’re starting it on a day off and we’re very intentional about that community service,” said Doris Martinez, director of Highline College’s Center for Cultural and Inclusive Excellence and chair of the MLK Jr. Week planning committee. “That was something Dr. King really lived by and lived for –– action through service.”
Also different this year, the week will include an evening, art-based event and a Flick Friday film viewing and discussion, for a total of eight programming events.
Under the theme “Radical Vision 20/20: Reclaiming Our Past, Rewriting Our Present, Re-imagining Our Future,” MLK Jr. Week 2020 prompts presenters and attendees to address how they, especially during an election year, can be radical and righteous for those who feel hopeless and voiceless.
“In many ways, that’s where our ‘rewriting our present’ comes in,” Martinez said. “We want to be able to look back 20 years from now as we reclaim our past and be able to feel like we’ve done something right along the way, especially when it comes to social justice and social inequities.”
This year’s keynote will be Jenna Hanchard, a leader in culture and innovation at The Riveter. Hanchard, a former broadcast journalist for KING 5, will speak on “Courageous Stories in the Face of Resistance.”
“Her work is very built around community and being able to see people through various lenses,” Martinez said, noting she considers her a community storyteller. “And based on our theme and because of her natural ability of storytelling, we’re really excited for her to dissect our theme through her own experiences.”
While all the speakers and presenters are special in their own right, Martinez highlighted Dr. Claudia Garcia Louis, who will be presenting on the black-white binary and how AfroLatinx persons could serve as the bridge between brownness and blackness. She also pointed out Hawaiian poet Dr. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, who will discuss the role of indigenous values and practices in our contemporary social movements for justice and transformation, and Obasi Shaw, a rapper, writer and Google software engineer, who will lecture and perform on the topic “Seize Your Moment.”
“MLK Week has a rich history of bringing timely courageous conversations to the Highline College community, and our committee has been intentional in maintaining that legacy,” Martinez said.
The planning committee this year has also deliberately included representation among staff, faculty, students and even our Central Washington University¬–Des Moines partners in on the planning.
“This is the biggest MLK committee I’ve had,” Martinez said, adding that they started planning the week in October. “About 14 committee members and well-represented cross divisionally.”
Students who are interested in being part of the “MLK Day of Service” are encouraged to register as soon as possible.
MLK Week is sponsored by Center for Cultural & Inclusive Excellence, Center for Leadership & Service, Learning and Teaching Center, AANAPISI, Academic Affairs, Youth Reengagement and Success Program and Central Washington University- Des Moines.