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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Symposium to be Held Virtually in 2021  

Update, January 18, 2021: Symposium opening video by President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D. (above).

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressing a large crowd.In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of America's most revered advocates for racial justice and social change, the College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies, will once again offer a special one-credit workshop to be held on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The day-long event will take place on Monday, January 18, 8:45 a.m. – 4 p.m., and will be offered online through Microsoft Teams.

The workshop is open to all Seton Hall undergraduates, professionals and alumni as well as the external community. Seton Hall undergraduates who wish to receive the one credit may register for AFAM 3291: MLK Day Symposium via PirateNet under "Spring Semester." The course falls under Spring semester flat tuition and is no additional cost, regardless of credit load. Undergraduate students will be assigned two post-event essays to complete course requirements. CEU/Professional Development credits are also available.

Seton Hall undergraduates who do not wish to receive the one credit, as well as Seton Hall graduate students, alumni and employees, may register through the event registration page. Community members may register via Xenegrade. Please contact the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies at (973) 761-9087 or ceps@shu.edu with any questions regarding registration by Wednesday, January 13.

Course content for the day includes Dr. King's contributions toward, and the analysis of, liberation, peace, and the struggle against oppression. Additional content covers institutional racism, micro aggression, rhetoric, privilege, racism in the media profession, health care and law, and anti-racism behavior. Special features focus on teacher awareness and content development for New Jersey Amistad Commission regulations on slavery in New Jersey and racism in education. These special sessions on educational content for K-12 educators, parents and community advocates incorporate material that is aligned with recent New Jersey QSAC standards requiring "that curricula in kindergarten through grade 12 include the teaching on the African slave trade, slavery in America, the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the contributions of African Americans to this country."

Reverend Forrest M. Pritchett, Ph.D., senior adviser to the Provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion and program director of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Program and the Seton Hall University Gospel Choir, states: "King once said, 'I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education, and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits,' and 'The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.' These quotes can serve as additional paradigms for the colleges and universities around the world. How appropriate that our MLK Day Symposium 2021 starts the year in which Seton Hall will embark on its new Strategic Plan."

"The last several years in this country have taught us many unanticipated lessons about the clarification of our attitudes toward the strangers among us, misogyny, the income inequality gap, religious determinates of social policy and values, and the ever-present racial injustice," he continues. "The global virus pandemic is a challenge to all and has revealed how the intersections of race and class can disproportionately impact communities in ways that are troubling to the human consciousness. During the Symposium, esteemed faculty colleagues will show us ‘what great minds can do’ about some of these important topics."

Following the workshop, members of the South Orange-Maplewood community will display luminaries (decorated paper bags with candles) in front of their homes to commemorate the legacy of Dr. King in combatting racism and inequality. We invite members of the Seton Hall community, including those who live outside of the South Orange-Maplewood community, to join in this event, now in its 20th year, organized by the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race.

Those wishing to participate may obtain luminaries with battery candles by 4 p.m. on Friday, January 15, outside the office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences in Fahy Hall 118. Luminary kits with traditional candles may be picked up at the following local businesses: Sparkhouse Kids, Able Baker, True Salvage, Pet Wants and the General Store Cooperative. Participants are asked to make a donation of $10/kit (three luminaries), payable online for the battery luminary kits, or at a local business for the kits with traditional candles. Anyone who wishes to put out a luminary on the Seton Hall campus should opt for the battery kit; no open flames are permitted. 

Participants will put out their luminaries at 4:45 p.m. At 5 p.m., there will be cultural events organized by Rev. Forrest Pritchett. Click here to join these cultural events live.

Categories: Arts and Culture , Education , Faith and Service , Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • Forrest Pritchett
  • (973) 275-2363
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