MLK celebration (1/21-23)

Purdue Calumet MLK event features
sister of 1963 bombing victim

Purdue University Calumet’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, Jan. 21-23, will feature keynote remarks by the sister of a slain victim of the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala.

Lisa McNair, sister of Denise McNair, who died with three other 11-to-14-year-old girls in the church bombing, will speak during a convocation at 11 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 23 in Alumni Hall of the Student Union & Library. The racially-motivated church explosion became a turning point in America’s Civil Rights movement and helped prompt passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Three-day observation

Purdue Calumet’s three-day observance also includes a roundtable of northwest Indiana mayors discussing ways to promote peace, reconciliation and healing (11 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 21); a peace exhibit display (Jan. 21-23) and viewing of the movie, “The Butler” (10 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 22).

“Many of the stories of what happened in that time are not taught in school books,” Lisa McNair said as a prelude to her Purdue Calumet presentation. “This was a pivotal moment in the struggle. Adults had been killed, but these were four young girls who were at church, doing what they were supposed to be doing. It’s important to share this story.”

The convocation also will offer performances by students of the Beachfront Dance School of Gary.

“Purdue University Calumet’s annual celebration in honor of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. examines the courage and moral commitment of Martin Luther King’s determination to achieve social justice for all people through nonviolence,” Purdue Calumet Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Roy Hamilton said. “This celebration demonstrates further how Dr. King’s movement for civil and human rights became a shining moment in American history.”

Free and open to public

All events are open to the public at no charge and will take place in the Student Union & Library. The mayoral roundtable will be recorded by Northwest Indiana Lakeshore Public Television for broadcast at a later date.

The complete schedule of events is as follows:

11 a.m., Jan. 21–Northwest Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on Peace, Reconciliatory Healing and Transformation;

Jan. 21-23—Exhibit: Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World. On loan from Soka Gakkai International-USA, this exhibit brings together ideas of thousands of people and organizations dedicated to finding a path to lasting peace;

12:30 p.m., Jan. 21—Ribbon cutting for Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World exhibit;

10 a.m., Jan. 22—Film presentation, “The Butler”;

11 a.m., Jan. 23—Convocation: Freedom Stories: In the Face of Discrimination, featuring keynote speaker Lisa McNair, sister of 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing victim Denise McNair.

Purdue Calumet’s 22nd Martin Luther King Jr. celebration is sponsored by the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration Committee in conjunction with the Multicultural Campus Council.