Huntington, Ind. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led an inspiring life. He showed courage in the face of adversity and a heart for his fellow man in the midst of hostility.
At 11:30 a.m. Jan. 17, Huntington University will host a lecture in the Zurcher Auditorium of the Merillat Centre for the Arts
on campus to honor the legacy of Dr. King as well as recognize the impact that he had on the world. Arthur Wilson, director of urban scholarship and mentoring at Huntington University, will address “Where do we go from here?” This event is free and open to the public, and many Huntington County and city officials have been invited.
“Dr. King was a very inspirational figure when he was alive, and his life still inspires people,” said Jesse Brown, assistant dean of student development at Huntington University and a member of the Harmony Task Force. “The day is dedicated to serving other people and taking the time to remember the impact he had on society.”
Also, from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 16, a community youth service will be held at College Park Church, 1945 College Ave, Huntington. The service will address the necessity of service which will then lead into a challenge for students to get involved with Blessings in a Backpack, which is an initiative to provide food and other school supplies to students in the Huntington County community.
The Huntington Bookworm has also planned a special story time to celebrate the dream of Dr. King on Jan. 17. The Bookworm will stop at Son Grown Preschool, 1000 Flaxmill Road, Huntington, at 9:15 a.m.; at Trinity Preschool, 530 Guilford St., Huntington, at 10 a.m.; and Little Blessings Childcare, 1226 North Jefferson St. Huntington, at 10:30 a.m. These events will be repeated throughout the week at the various Bookworm stops. The special MLK story time will be available to all locations as an additional option with the “checkout” service.
The Huntington Public Library will host a story and activity time featuring Dr. King from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. Jan. 17 for grades 1-5. Registration is appreciated but not required by calling the library at 260-356-2900.
Kids Kampus has also planned special activities on Jan. 17 for preschool and school-aged children. Lessons will focus on the similarities and differences between people, showing them to be like puzzle pieces: "No matter who we are or where we come from, we all fit together."
The Boys and Girls Club in Huntington will also honor Dr. King Day through three activities differentiated by grade levels: K-3 will reflect on his accomplishments and color images depicting his life and work; grades 4-6 will create quilt blocks to represent his ideas and principles; and grades 7-12 will participate in a “I have a dream” speech contest.
Finally, resources have been made available to teachers and Sunday School teachers to talk about multicultural issues and the life of Dr. King. As school is still on session on Jan. 17, Chuck Grable, assistant superintendent for instruction, has collected lessons plans from the teachers in the Huntington County Community School Corporation to use as teaching materials on Dr. King Day. Also, Lancaster Elementary kindergarten teacher Jeanne Paff developed Sunday School lessons which can be downloaded at harmonyinitiative.org. The lessons focus on how God worked in Dr. King’s life through his care for others and his courage in tough situations.
“It’s a day on, not a day off,” Brown said. “The idea is not to watch TV. The idea of Dr. King’s legacy is service. It’s time to reach out to other people.”
These events are being organized by the Harmony Task Force through the Harmony Initiative. Formed in 2007, the Harmony Initiative is an ad hoc group of local business leaders, elected officials, clergy, educators and social-service workers advancing values of the city of Huntington’s mission statement, which declares Huntington to be “a community of civility and inclusion, where diversity is honored and differences are respected.”