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'I Have a Dream' speech reenactment highlights MLK Week activities

January 05, 2011

A 20-year tradition at Arizona State University’s West campus will continue Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 11 a.m. as Charles St. Clair reenacts Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous speech. The public is invited to attend this and two other free events as part of the campus’s annual celebration of King’s legacy and the civil rights movement.

St. Clair, a faculty member in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, is the newly announced recipient of the 2011 Promoting Inclusiveness Award from the city of Glendale. The annual award is designed to recognize those who “go beyond the scope of their jobs to promote inclusiveness in their actions, and exhibit qualities that are consistent with the ideals advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” He will receive recognition during the 2011 Unity Day Luncheon, Jan. 14 at the Glendale Civic Center.

On the 19th, St. Clair will deliver the “I Have a Dream” speech as part of the West campus’s annual March on West event. More than 1,000 students from 11 local elementary and middle schools will come to campus that morning to reenact the 1963 March on Washington, which provided the setting for King’s speech. Prior to the march, students will gather in smaller groups to learn about important civil-rights era milestones.

“It’s an honor to share this unforgettable speech with a group of young people,” said St. Clair, who arrived at ASU’s West campus in 1990 and first presented King’s famous speech in 1991. “You never know who will be inspired to do great things by hearing Dr. King’s powerful message of harmony among all people.”

Arriving school children will be greeted by the drum corps from Independence High School, whose members will lead the students in a march around campus to the Fletcher Library lawn. The event also will feature performances by the musical group Elevated Unda’Ground.

On Thursday, Jan. 20, the celebration continues with the screening of “Mountains That Take Wing: Angela Davis and Yuri Kochiyama – A Conversation on Life, Struggles and Liberation.” This film was produced and directed by ASU professors C.A. Griffith and H.L.T. Quan. The screening, at 5 p.m. in the Kiva Lecture Hall, will be preceded by a reception at 4:30 and followed by a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers. In addition to helping commemorate MLK Week, this event also is part of the New College ThinK (Thursdays in the Kiva) series on the West campus.

MLK Week activities wrap up on Friday, Jan. 21, with the Poetry Jam. Sponsored by the Black Graduate Student Association, this event features the theme “The Evolution of his Dream…in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Performers include Elevated Unda’Ground. The Poetry Jam, at 7 p.m. in the Kiva, is billed as “an evening of poetic, lyrical, soulful expressions and multimedia presentations of how Dr. King’s dream impacts and motivates us as artists.” The evening’s activities start with a reception at 6:30.

Attendees at these events are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the MLK Food Drive. Collected food items will be donated to local food banks. There will be several collection sites around campus, including Fletcher Library.

For more information, call (602) 543-5300.