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Creighton Honors Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Campus Events

Creighton University will hold a week-long series of campus events, Jan. 21-25, to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Events include a presentation of community and student awards, a Unity Prayer luncheon and a cake and choir celebration.

This year’s theme is “Nonviolence is the way of life for courageous people,” one of the six principles of nonviolence espoused by King. That theme will be reflected in an elementary school poster and essay contest. All events are free and open to the public.

Additional details on individual events:

Monday, Jan. 21, 4-5:30 p.m. Hixson-Lied Auditorium, Mike and Josie Harper Center, 602 N. 20th St. This celebration will include a presentation of community and student awards and recognition of winners of a University-sponsored elementary school poster and essay contest. The President's Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award will be given to Alberto “Beto” Gonzales, who works for the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, and Sadie Bankston, founder and director of PULSE, People Uniting, Lending Support and Encouragement.

Gonzales, a native of Omaha, has worked for three decades as a coalition builder in South Omaha, focusing on gang prevention and supporting troubled youth. Bankston has headed PULSE for 22 years, an agency providing support for secondary victims of homicide. The group helps affected persons with information on the judicial system, the grieving process and other issues related to these tragedies.

Other awards being given include Student Leadership Awards, presented to Creighton students who put into practice the ideals of Dr. King, and campus awards for diversity excellence and innovation. Before the ceremony, Creighton will participate in the Metro High School Peace Initiative Student March. The march will begin at 3:30 p.m. at Central High School, 124 North 20th Street and participants will walk north on 24th Street to Creighton University Mall and then east to the Harper Center, 602 North 20th Street, joining the awards ceremony. Participants will be encouraged to sign a peace pledge at the reception following the program.

Monday, January 21, Courageous Voices, noon -1:00 p.m.; 7 - 8:00 pm , Harper Center Room 3027

Courageous Voices is a program series that focuses on fostering constructive dialogue about some of society's most contentious issues, including but not limited to: race, religion, sexual orientation, and conflicts throughout the world.  This event will focus on the Six Principles of Nonviolence authored by King. Students, faculty, staff and others are invited to attend but must register beforehand by calling  Correy Hammond 402.280.3301. Lunch will be provided at the noon event.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 23, Unity Prayer Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Harper Center ballroom. The Rev. Dwight Ford, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center of Rock Island, Ill., is the luncheon speaker. He was also executive director of the Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership of Omaha from 2008 to 2012. An innovative leader, author, thought-provoker, and public theologian, he is affectionately known as “the People’s Pastor” for his commitment to vulnerable populations and impoverished communities. Ford travels throughout the United States speaking at churches, colleges, and community organizations.

    Also presented at the luncheon is the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award, given to an individual who serves as an advocate for social justice and brings the community together by promoting collaboration among diverse groups. This year the award is being presented to Ronald R. Volkmer, professor of law, Creighton University School of Law, for his efforts to incorporate Ignatian values and social justice into the School of Law’s Dominican Republic immersion trips. Volkmer has led the school’s partnership with the Institute of Latin American Concern (ILAC) since 2006. He also serves as a volunteer at the Sienna Francis House and chairman of the board for the Concord Mediation Center.

    Reservations are required for the luncheon and must be made by Jan. 16. For reservations, register online at https://www.blueq-surveys.creighton.edu/se.ashx?s=46BEEE7F512FD474 or by calling 402.280.2646.

  • Friday, Jan. 25, a “Cake and Choir” concert, noon, V.J. and Angela Skutt Student Center. This musical celebration features cake and gospel music performed by local artists and musicians.