Marietta honors MLK Jr. with Day of Service

Students loading food into boxes

Honoring the legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., students and employees at Marietta plan to step away from their classroom and office work to volunteer within the community, as well as learn about what Dr. King and Malcolm X would teach today about Civil Rights.

On Monday, January 17th, the College continues its tradition to celebrate the late civil rights leader with a Day of Service and Reflection. The day will begin with a breakfast and a two-hour program that will include keynote speaker Odell Bizzell, a nationally known author, speaker and entrepreneur.

“We chose Odell Bizzell because his presentation topic gives us something to think about if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were still alive today,” said Tony Mayle, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Associate Dean of Students. “Our current and future leaders would have a much different perspective on social justice worldwide. Our Marietta College students are our voices of the future. It is important to hear from them and to understand their perspectives on social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Following the program, students and employees will participate in a number of service projects on and off campus.

“This year, we will have employees and students partner with nearly 30 organizations on projects related to food insecurity, child welfare, suicide prevention, dental health, women’s issues, mental health services, economic development, history, and murals at Marietta Elementary School and Campus Martius Museum,” said Christy Burke, Chair of the MLK Day of Service program and Director of Education Abroad.

She said the impact of these projects will extend past MLK Day of Service, as some agencies and organizations may want to continue a partnership with Marietta College.

“I am excited at the prospect of large impact and positive energy that can be initiated on MLK day but extend beyond the one day,” she said. “I look forward to building back the momentum of an active MLK day that was felt in 2018, 2019 and 2020 on campus.

After the two-hour service projects are completed, the College’s Education Department, in conjunction with the English Department and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, will lead a discussion on Angie Thomas’s book, “The Hate U Give” in Thomas Hall and on Zoom. Education interns will host these discussions. On Sunday, January 16th, two showings of the movie version of the book will be played in Thomas 124. Viewings are at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

“As educators, we need to get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations with our students,” said Dr. Raven Cromwell, Associate Professor of Education and member of the MLK Day of Service Committee. “I believe change can happen through open, honest communication and developing empathy for others. I believe that connecting to fictional characters, especially characters who have different cultures and life experiences, is crucial to developing empathy. We are able to listen to horrific events on the news and are often able to shrug it off because we don’t know those people, but fiction allows us a level of intimacy we don’t get anywhere else. We step into the characters’ lives and their struggles become ours. This is why we’ve decided to use the book, ‘The Hate U Give’ to spark discussion around race and racism in America for MLK day at Marietta College this year.”