'Celebrating Diversity' at CAS and Around Campus

Posted on: January 20, 2014

MLKMillions of citizens around the country are commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today by reflecting on his dream for equality and dedicating their time and talents to help those most in need.

Celebrating diversity is an important part of being a Spartan both on campus and wherever our students, faculty and alumni are working around the world. Michigan State University, throughout its history, has had a prominent role in being one of the leading educational institutions to take a strong stand on civil and human rights. Oftentimes, our students have been the driving force for change.

Here at CAS, an amazing collection of posters designed by CAS instructor Henry Brimmer's advertising students are on exhibit throughout our hallways to remember Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, which was delivered 50 years ago as of August 28, 1963.

Media sandbox 60/50 projectMSU's campus-wide initiative, "Project 60/50," which focuses on civil and human rights throughout 2014, is also the inspiration of this year's Media Sandbox Creative Challenge. The "60" represents 60 years since the Brown v. Board of Education ruling and the "50" represents 50 years since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, making major forms of discrimination unlawful.

The deadline for entering the Media Sandbox Challenge is this Friday, January 24. The Challenge asks students to delve into the issue of civil rights in America and explain its relevance. Participants must research the events that inspired Project 60/50 and reimagine them for a 2014 audience. The culmination of their research will be expressed in a six-page magazine layout, video and website for each entry.

Next month is Black History Month and the college has several events underway that I encourage you to check out. Kicking off the month is a photography exhibit at the MSU Museum, "Revisiting Verger's Dahomey: A Photographic Contrast," that features photographs by Journalism Assistant Director and Associate Professor Darcy Green. Green's photos are displayed side-by-side with images by French photographer Pierre Verger, who immersed himself in the lives, customs and beliefs of the people of Dahomey (now Benin), West Africa in the 1950s.

The exhibit prompts the questions of what has changed and what has remained the same since the 1950s, similar to the questions we are asking our students to explore in this year's Media Sandbox Challenge. The photography exhibit will open Sunday, Feb. 2, 2-4 p.m., with a reception. The exhibit opening also will feature a gallery talk with Darcy Green beginning at 3 p.m.

Also in honor of Project 60/50 and Black History Month, the college is serving as a platinum sponsor for the 14th annual "Slavery to Freedom: An American Odyssey" lecture series hosted by the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Rochelle Riley, a Detroit Free Press columnist, author and frequent guest of National Public Radio will kick-off the series on Feb. 6 at 5 p.m., at the Kellogg Center.

Journalist and editor for The Tennessean, John Seigenthaler, who was assistant and adviser to U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and government liaison for the Freedom Riders, will wrap up the series on Feb. 27 at 5 p.m., also at the Kellogg Center. Both of these highly regarded journalists will visit CAS instructor Joe Grimm's JRN 300 class while they are on campus.

Feb-StayTunedCover-BlogAdditionally, WKAR will feature several special documentaries throughout Black History Month so make sure you check out the upcoming issue of "StayTuned" if you are a WKAR member, or go online to get the latest schedule of events at wkar.org.

This Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m., as part of its Community Cinema series, WKAR will host a short preview and community conversation on immigration. The documentary, "The State of Arizona," captures the explosive emotions and complex realities behind Arizona's headline-grabbing struggle with illegal immigration. To shed light on immigration issues right here in mid-Michigan, guests Susan Reed with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Sheila Contreras of MSU's Chicano/Latino Studies program, and Aida Cuadrado from Action of Greater Lansing will serve on a panel immediately following the documentary preview.

This is just a sampling of the rich array of opportunities the college, WKAR and MSU will be offering throughout the year as part of Project 60/50. I hope you have the opportunity to participate in some of the events and help keep Dr. King's dream alive.

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