On Feb. 15, the campus community gathered in Crowell Concert Hall to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. HON ’64. This year, 2018, also marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. The commemoration included a keynote address, an audio recording of King’s baccalaureate address at Wesleyan in 1965, songs and a reception at Malcolm X House.
Isaac Guzman ’21 introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Joi Lewis. Guzman explained how, utilizing the Orange Method framework—which is grounded in the deep concept of healing justice to invite, inspire and explore—Lewis uses poetry, song, and stories to illuminate how individuals and institutions transform and move towards true liberation, even against the backdrop of racism and oppression-induced toxic stress and trauma.
Dr. Joi Lewis, the CEO and founder of Joi Unlimited Coaching & Consulting and the Orange Method, delivered the keynote address titled “From Hollering to Healing: Black to the Future.” Lewis completed her doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, was a Bush Fellow, conducted research in South Africa and has worked in higher education for more than 20 years as a dean of students and vice provost, a vice president of student affairs, chief diversity officer and as faculty.
Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion, welcomed the audience to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.
Representing the MLK Committee, Demetrius Colvin, director of the Resource Center, provided a welcome—and welcoming song.
Between 1962 and 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Wesleyan four times. On June 7, 1964, he received an honorary degree and delivered the baccalaureate sermon during commencement. (Photo courtesy of Special Collections & Archives)
Natasha Guandique ’20 presented a recorded excerpt from King’s 1964 baccalaureate sermon.
Dr. Lewis talked about living in the paradox between heartbreak and joy, and described herself as a healer who believes, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.” Using song, narrative, and poetry to discuss Black Lives Matter and racial tensions in this country, she stressed that “Joy and pain run from the same faucet…. We must continue to dream and imagine and create other worlds.”
Naomi Williams ’18 presented a vocal performance during the commemoration.
The audience was encouraged to stand and sing.
For several decades Wesleyan has celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The celebration has taken various forms, from including prominent keynote speakers such as Johnetta Cole and Sonia Sanchez to a campus-based program where members of the faculty, staff and students read portions of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
The commemoration concluded with closing remarks made by Abike Sonubi ’19. (Photos by Olivia Drake)