‘A Day On, Not a Day Off’: Celebrate MLK Day on GSU’s Campus

Tandra Smith

In the coming days, Georgia Southern will host two Martin Luther King Day events to celebrate his life and remember his legacy. They are among the numerous events going on throughout the nation to honor the late civil rights movement leader.

The first event is the annual MLK Celebration Speaker hosted by the Office of Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and the Multicultural Student Center.

This year’s speaker will be Steve Perry, the principal and founder of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School. The school has sent 100 percent of their low-income, minority, and first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges since its first class graduated in 2006.

“I am always pleased for our students to hear from world leaders who are making a difference in this world. Dr. Perry is making a difference in his campaign for high quality schools for all,” Teresa Thompson, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said.

Along with being the principal and founder of the school, Perry is a contributor for both CNN and MSNBC, a best-selling author and was featured in CNN’s ‘Black in America’ series.

Perry joins a long list of MLK speakers that have come to campus before him.

“[The purpose of a MLK Day speaker] is an opportunity for the University Community to hear from some of the best and brightest minds on diversity issues while also honoring Dr. King’s legacy and work,” Thompson said.

The event started back in 2006, when Myrlie Evers-Williams, a civil rights activist and journalist, who worked to seek justice for her husband, came to campus. Other notable speakers have been Bernice King in 2007, Soledad O’Brien in 2013, and Andrew Young in 2014.

“I hope that by listening and learning about Dr. Perry’s successful work, our students might be inspired to do the same,” Thompson said.

The event will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 7pm at the Performing Arts Center. It is free and open to the public and attendance verification will be provided. Students are asked to bring their Eagle ID.

The second event is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. This event is also hosted by the Multicultural Student Center, along with the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement and University Housing.

The national Martin Luther King Day of Service initiative began with former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis. It calls for Americans from every walk of life to come together and help strengthen communities, solve social problems and empower individuals on MLK Day.

This year’s event will be the first one held at Georgia Southern. The university will focus on community clean-up efforts, voter registration drives and community awareness plans for the downtown Statesboro community.

“It’s ‘A Day On, Not a Day Off’,” Nicole Anelas, senior chemistry major, said. “MLK Day of Service is a great way to continue [Martin Luther King’s] legacy by volunteering on your day off.”

Anelas feels it’s important to honor the legacy of MLK by participating in different events.

“MLK Day [of Service] is more than just a post on social media, but a way to honor a man who dedicated his life for the benefit of others,” Anelas said.

Registration for the event is now open on a first come, first serve basis. There are two upcoming information sessions at Russell Union room 2052 on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 12p.m. and 5p.m.

For more information on MLK Day of Service and where to register visit tiny.cc/BoroDayOn.