Honoring a king: YSU honors MLK with campus events

By Aileen Blaine and Elizabeth Coss

Youngstown State University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day by hosting several in-person events. 

Carol Bennett, assistant provost at the office of DEI, said this year’s events focused more on social activism and the individuals who worked with King to promote equality and civil rights.

“A lot of the other presentations and workshops in the past talked about Dr. King as he was in 1968, or they just gave a history of him,” Bennett said. “So [now], we’re talking about the importance of social activism and about how some things have changed, but they haven’t changed.”

The events started off with a presentation titled “Black Social Movements,” which explored Black Americans’ fight for equality since emancipation. Held Tuesday evening in Kilcawley Center’s Jones Room, the topics discussed included anti-lynching movements, the Tulsa race riots and the 1960s civil rights movements.

Bennett led the discussion by speaking on the history and truth of King by highlighting events from the 1800s through the 1960s and how these have unfolded in the modern day. 

“I want people to know the truth, not only about Reverend Dr. [Martin Luther] King,” Bennett said. “When we learn more about a historical event, we’re not trying to change history, we’re just adding another piece to the puzzle.”

Wednesday evening brought a viewing of the film “Selma,” a historical drama that chronicles King’s 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in an effort to secure equal voting rights. 

Thursday brings a keynote address by the Reverend Lewis W. Macklin II at 12:30 p.m. in Kilcawley Center’s Chestnut Room. The address will reflect on the life of King and how his impact and legacy can still be felt today. 

“The main goal is to get people talking,” Bennett said. “We’re really trying to get students engaged, getting them to think about the world they live in and how things are impacting them.”

The office of DEI is planning for more events to be set throughout the month into February for Black History Month.