Join Lewis and Clark Community College for a virtual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. at noon Thursday.
The program will take the form of a YouTube premiere event, featuring a keynote speaker, Lewis and Clark students reciting excerpts from famous speeches and letters by civil rights advocates, a dance presentation and a choir performance.
Participants can view the free educational event on the college’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/lewisandclarkcc, and log in to participate in a live chat with other viewers.
“This program is important because we engage students to participate, and by their involvement they are educated,” L&C Student Activities Coordinator Jared Hennings said. “The keynote is integral because we need to hear a message that’s topical to help us better navigate how we can all better meld our differences regarding race moving forward.”
Keynote speaker Jonathan Pulphus is a learner, writer and activist, who is currently the Peace Program associate at American Friends Service Committee St. Louis and also serves as an outreach worker with Employment Connection’s Cure Violence St. Louis.
Pulphus, of St. Louis, graduated from Saint Louis University in 2017 with a bachelor of arts in African American studies and a minor in women and gender studies. He is involved with the Metro St. Louis Coalition for Inclusion and Equity, Saint Louis University’s Black Student Alliance and Tribe X.
The virtual celebration will also feature an ensemble dance performance to “Four Women,” by artist Nina Simone.
“My current work has been solely to tell the stories and experiences of black and brown bodies through the art form of dance,” said performer, choreographer and instructor Ronnie J. Anderson Jr.
Anderson is a professional dancer with extensive training in modern, contemporary, jazz, and other forms of dance. He has a bachelor of arts in journalism – advertising, with a minor in dance, from the University of Georgia. He dances professionally in major cities throughout Georgia and the United States.
Two hallmarks of the program will pay homage to the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis and author James Baldwin, Hennings said.
A student will read an excerpt from a letter Lewis left to be read following his death, entitled “Together You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation.”
A trailer will be shown from Baldwin’s documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro,” highlighting Baldwin's call for a higher humanist agenda.
There will also be a performance by The Aeolians of Oakwood University, Ala. The Aeolians was originally organized in 1946, and performs a repertoire of choral music which ranges from the Baroque era to the 20th century. According to Oakwood’s website, the Aeolians is an award-winning authoritative exponent of Negro spirituals and work songs.
“For me, Martin Luther King Jr. embodies everything we are currently fighting related to racial justice, social and economic rights and the dignity of everyone,” said Associate Professor of Speech Mumba Mumba, co-coordinator of the event. “His speeches remind me that words and actions matter, and that we can all dream and work toward a world where everyone feels included and valued.”
This event is co-hosted by the L&C Diversity Council and L&C Student Activities and is open to the general public.