Hobart and William Smith Colleges will kick off a week-long series of programs and events titled “Women Voicing the Dream” for Martin Luther King Jr. Week by welcoming an activist, vocalist and motivational speaker Arlette Miller Smith.
She will give a lecture on the presence of women in this pivotal historical movement at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23 in St. John's Chapel. Miller Smith, associate provost and dean of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs at St. John Fisher College, will be joined by her fellow members of AKOMA, a Rochester-based African American gospel choir, for the performance portion of “Women Voicing the Dream.”
AKOMA's debut performance was in August 1995 for Women Fest, a day-long event that celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Women's Right to vote. At the time, the group of 35 women decided to “embrace a musical ministry that encompassed both their collective faith and their love for gospel music.” AKOMA now represents more than 17 Rochester-area churches with its 40 members.
Miller Smith's lecture and AKOMA's performance are some of the many events planned on campus to honor female civil rights activists, the Civil Rights Movement and King. The events include:
• Monday, Jan. 21, HWS community participates in Geneva’s annual MLK Day Celebration at 11 a.m. at The Presbyterian Church. The march begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Safety Building on Exchange Street. A listening forum will be all day at the Library Atrium.
• Tuesday, Jan. 22, a birthday cake will be served in Saga, with an Open Mic session in honor of King’s birthday;
• Thursday, Jan. 24, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Mary Salibrici will give a Fireside Chat, “Ella Baker: The Woman and the Dream,” at 4:30 p.m. in the Intercultural Affairs Center, followed by the Community Service House’s “Women's Voices – Women's Lives: A Conversation with Geneva Agencies,” at 7 p.m.;
• And on Saturday, Jan. 26, HWS and Geneva High School students will take part in the MLK Day of Service: “Writing to Remember,” when they will visit nursing homes and with members of churches, to write their respective memoirs. Breakfast and orientation begin at 9 a.m. at the Intercultural Affairs Center.
Students, staff and faculty members can also experience female Civil Rights figures by walking through the Library Atrium where a photo exhibit, “Women and the Civil Rights Movement,” will be on display Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, in collaboration with the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester.
“Women Voicing the Dream” is sponsored by Intercultural Affairs, Religious Life, the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, and the Writing and Rhetoric Program.