Students Learn About Diversity During MLK Events

Posted on: Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
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by Brent Treash

Building Tomorrow Together. This simple message echoes the intents of one man during a complex time. Emory & Henry College’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK) celebrations earlier this semester brought together speakers and performers from different backgrounds, both ethnically and socially, to exemplify this message and theme for the 2013 event.

Through my participation in the lectures on MLK Day, I learned to step back from any preconceived judgments I might have about an individual or an issue and to take the role of listener. By opening our minds and our ears to the voices of others, we are able to better understand what the issues are and how to address them.

The celebration started with a performance from the Todd Wright Jazz Quintet on Sunday, Jan. 20. The following morning began with a non-traditional speech by keynote speaker Mohammed Bilal. His lecture, entitled “Twelve Steps to Appreciating Diversity,” set the tone for the remainder of the day’s lectures and emphasized the things we can and should learn from one another’s differences.

After an afternoon of various breakout sessions that focused on topics ranging from “Are You a Heterosexist?” to “Hillbilly Myths and Realities,” Bilal gave his own breakout session, entitled “Each One Teach One,” which dove further into his personal background and the lessons he has learned along the way.

Bilal’s final appearance on campus came in the form of a spoken word poetry performance. Entitled “Brand Newness and Other Mythologies,” his message was both entertaining and powerful and succeeded in wrapping up the celebrations honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

As graphic designer for the Emory & Henry MLK Day logo and all associated publications, my main goal was to create consistency throughout the pieces and to incorporate the ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr. I wanted to keep the design as minimalist as possible and worked on establishing a clean, uncluttered design to the flyers and programs.

In conjunction with the theme, Building Tomorrow Together, my decision to make the publications more modern was intentional, as it reinforces the idea that King’s message still holds true today. Although the issue of discrimination on the basis of skin color may be on its way to becoming a thing of the past, the issue of discrimination on the basis of sexuality is far from obsolete.