In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Colleges will participate in special events in the Geneva community as well as host activities that focus on social justice in honor of the civil rights leader. This year, the MLK Day of Service will take place on Monday, Jan. 16 as students volunteer and march in the MLK Day parade. The following week, students will gather for a film screening and a multicultural dance on campus.
The MLK Day of Service was planned to align with Geneva’s Annual Martin Luther King Jr. March and Memorial Service, which will focus on this year’s theme “Justice for All! Reality or Still a Dream?” HWS volunteers are encouraged to participate in the 46th annual march that takes place from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. starting from the Public Safety Building on Exchange Street. At 11 a.m., volunteers will gather at the Geneva Presbyterian Church at 24 Park Place, assisting with hospitality, serving food, clean-up, and for interested students, worship assistance and choir before and after the Dr. Martin Luther King mass.
Former Rochester Mayor William A. “Bill” Johnson Jr. will be the featured speaker at the Geneva Presbyterian Church service. His talk will build on the city’s theme of justice for all, as he reflects on the state of the nation after eight years of leadership under President Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president. In 2005, Johnson led a discussion “Why We Celebrate Martin Luther King Day” as part of the President’s Forum Series at HWS.
Before becoming the mayor of Rochester in 2005, Johnson worked as the chief executive officer of the Urban League of Rochester. Since his appointment to office, he has worked as a professor of policy and urban studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a consultant on many issues.
Dominque DeRubeis ’18, the student coordinator of the HWS Day of Service, believes this year will have a positive outcome. “I’m excited to have everyone under one roof. I believe it will foster a community effort and give students the chance to meet many community members at once.”
HWS vans will leave for the march from Residential Education on 101 St. Clair Street beginning at 8:45 a.m. Students who are going directly to the church will meet at the Bartlett Theatre in Coxe Hall at 9 a.m. to walk downtown together. Lunch will be provided at the church as well as T-shirts that recognize the national celebration of Martin Luther King and community service.
The Office of Intercultural Affairs has also organized a screening of the documentary “13th” in the Sanford Room on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. The Netflix documentary, created by Ava Duvernay, explores the history of race and the criminal justice system. A post-screening discussion will be facilitated by Assistant Professor of Political Science Justin Rose.
Additionally, a multicultural dance event titled, “Building the Beloved Community: Social Change through the Performing Arts” will be hosted by Assistant Professor of Dance Kelly Johnson in the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts in February. The Niema Atkins & Afreesoul Dynamic Dance Company, a group of intersectional artists, will showcase their craft of spoken word and storytelling, movement and dance, video and film, as well as music and soundscapes. Details about the dance event will be released shortly.
Admission to all events is free. To register for MLK Day of Service, visit:
The Finger Lakes Times recently published an article on Geneva’s Martin Luther King Day events, read the article here:
Former Rochester mayor to speak at Geneva’s MLK event
By STEVE BUCHIERE
GENEVA — Former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson is the featured speaker at the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Monday.
The annual March and Memorial Service starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Safety Building on Exchange Street. An 11 a.m. worship service will be held in the Presbyterian Church at 24 Park Place; Johnson will speak as part of that service.
“He’s an excellent speaker,” said Donald Golden, president of the MLK Committee and also pastor of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, adding that Johnson has spoken at the event in the past.
This year’s commemoration is titled “Justice For All! Reality … or Still a Dream?”
“We are consistent that our message is all about unity and justice for all,” said Golden.
The MLK march comes amid turmoil in the past year — from a number of highly publicized police shootings of unarmed African-American men to a sometimes-racially charged presidential race.
Golden said Johnson was asked prior to the election to speak, and said that he will “compare and contrast” where we stand as a nation after eight years with President Barack Obama at the helm as the nation’s first African-American president.
Beyond that, Golden said he does not know what Johnson’s conclusion will be.
Johnson, a Democrat, served as Rochester’s mayor from January 1994 to Dec. 31, 2005. He was chief executive officer of the Urban League of Rochester before becoming mayor.
He served for eight years as a distinguished professor of public policy and urban studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology after leaving the mayoral post. Johnson now serves as a consultant on a number of issues, including citizen participation, governmental restructuring and organizational planning.
As for Trump, who some accuse of using race as a way to attract votes, Golden is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“We are taught by our faith to pray for whomever is in charge,” he said. “We support them (presidents) when they’re right and point out their disagreements (when we believe they are not).”
Golden understands the attraction to Trump, noting that a segment of the population felt disenfranchised at a time of great change in America.
Still, said Golden, there are more things that unite us than divide us. Jobs for all and a decent place to live are things all Americans strive for, he said.
King brought a positive approach to social justice issues, and that is the message Golden wants to convey.
Divisiveness and violence were not King’s ways to achieve justice, he said. And Golden remains hopeful that the new president will be successful — for the sake of the nation.
“I am prayerful, and we should all be prayerful, that things turn out well,” he said.