Anti-racist writer Tim Wise—called “one of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege” by author Michael Eric Dyson— will deliver the keynote address at Lehigh’s Martin Luther King celebration the week of Jan. 25.
Wise will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, in Packard Auditorium. The talk will kick off a series of events on the theme of “One Man, Many Faces: The Identities of MLK,” and will include a march and speak-out, an oratorical event, an interfaith breakfast, a convocation and awards ceremony, and a concluding event.
“We aim to capture the multiple identities in which Martin Luther King Jr. is recognized,” says Jame’l Hodges, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and chair of the MLK Planning Committee.
“MLK was a scholar, a pastor, father, activist and a fraternity member. He was connected to an enormous network of people very similar to the Lehigh community and he related to them all in effective and powerful ways.”
“Maximizing a teachable moment”
Hodges said the committee’s goal was to create a series of events that engage and challenge the Lehigh community, while showcasing the talents and dedication of many who embody King’s ideals.
“It’s our hope that multiculturalism will be embraced by all members of Lehigh through the celebration of MLK,” he says. “We want to maximize this teachable moment through active participation.”
Wise has spoken in 49 states, on over 600 college campuses and to community groups, on topics including comparative racism, race and education, racism and religion, and racism in the labor market. Author of five books—including White Like Me and Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama—he is also a frequent media commentator.
Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers, and has conducted trainings with physicians and medical professionals on combating racial inequities in health care. He has trained corporate, government, entertainment, military and law enforcement officials on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions, and has served as a consultant on federal discrimination cases.
This year's celebration of King's life and legacy began Monday, Jan. 17, with a forum titled "What is Diversity?" sponsored by Lehigh's Council for Equity and Community (CEC).
The forum offered an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to celebrate Dr. King's message and to reflect on what diversity means to each of us. In addition to the campus events, members of the Lehigh community were invited to the Jan. 17 MLK celebration sponsored by the Bethlehem branch of the NAACP at Cathedral Church of the Nativity, 321 Wyandotte St. That event included speeches, performances and songs.
Other members of Lehigh’s MLK Planning Committee include Seth Goren, assistant university chaplain and director of Jewish Student Life; Cleveland McCray, manager of academic services; Jess Manno, assistant dean of students; Courtney Jones, assistant director of Multicultural Affairs; and Silagh White, director of ArtsLehigh.
Also Ginger Debias, coordinator of student activities; Quiana Daniel, residence life coordinator; Veronica Hunter, Greek life coordinator; Greg Reihman, director of faculty development; Angelo Lee, associate director of admissions; and Ayanna Wilcher, counselor in career services.
Also Esther Lee, president of the Bethlehem chapter of the NAACP; Shalena Heard, graduate assistant in education and human services; Gregory Martin ’11; Chris Holguin ’13; and Majed Dergham, assistant director of admissions.