2009 Sessions
MLK Session Program
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FOCUS SESSION I  1:15–2:15 p.m.

 

Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign
Presenter: Professor Michael K. Honey, University of Washington-Tacoma
CCLIR 205

Description: Join keynote speaker Dr. Mike Honey for a discussion of his book Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign (2007). The book, which won the 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, is a critically acclaimed account of the key figures on both sides of the dramatic conflicts leading up to King’s assassination. This presentation will focus on the central role of the working poor in King’s vision of the American Dream.


Silences
Presenters: Professors Lissa Yogan and Becky Byrum, Valparaiso University
VUCA: 1412

Description: Silences is a short film about a bi-racial son and his family’s refusal to acknowledge that he is of African-American descent. Following the film, Prof. Lissa Yogan will lead a discussion about the persistent beliefs in racial hierarchies and racial purity and the effect of such beliefs on society today. This session will encourage participants to consider the social construction of race in the context of family groups. We will explore the idea of the American dream through the lens of multi-racial persons.


Legends from Camp, Poems by Lawson Fusao Inada
Presenters: Gloria Ruff and Kristin Nygaard , Valparaiso University
Mueller Hall: Commons

Description: Author Lawson Fusao Inada will attend this session that explores the “American Dream” from the perspective of a Japanese- American who spent time in the internment camps during World War II. Inada’s poems are playful, full of life, and easy to understand, even when the subject is somber – as in the first section which recounts the author’s experience as a boy in the Japanese internment camps. A limited number of free copies of the book are available to the campus and community through the generosity of the Project on Civic Reflection.

 

Progress Towards Equality: Environmental Justice Issues
Presenters: Professors Bharath Ganesh-Babu, Nirupama Devaraj, and Alan White
Mueller Hall: 12

Description: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has defined environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” The objective of the panel is to examine issues related to the achievement of environmental justice in legal, socioeconomic, and spatial contexts. The American dream will be achieved when “everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental hazards and equal access to the decision-making process involved in creating a healthy environment.” The panel focuses on the progress made towards this goal.

 

Older Adults and Experience of the American Dream
Presenter: Karen Meuzelaar, Valparaiso University
Mueller Hall: 4

Description: Very often the American Dream seems to relate to younger individuals graduating college, families seeking a satisfactory life, or other younger people in society. However, the older generations of our nation also seek the American Dream. They seek to be valued, to fulfill their goals, and to live a rewarding life. As the number of older adults increases, our nation will need to consider how the American Dream applies to their goals. The services for older adults, the opportunities for involvement, and the general value of this population must be taken seriously and actively engaged. The American Dream does not end with retirement—often the teaching of the American Dream is only beginning.

 

From Domination to Liberation: Latin America Has Proven a New World is Possible
Presenter: Professor Ruth Needleman, IU Northwest
CCLIR 205

Description: This session will explore the vast and exciting changes that have transformed the Americas, and the critical ingredients that made change possible. It began with grass-roots education and organizing, broad coalitions and a vision for the future based on equality, justice, and jobs. How ironic that the slogan (Si se puede!) that ushered in populist democracies throughout Latin America, stood at the center of Cesar Chavez’s and Martin Luther King’s vision, and also powered the campaign of our very-soon-to-be president Barack Obama. This session will focus on Brazil, in order to show how the tools and strategies of the civil rights movement also moved change in Latin America. Then we will examine what we can learn from our Southern neighbors about how to organize and build power under a popular presidency.

 


FOCUS SESSION II  2:30–3:30 p.m.

 

Love Deferred: The Same-Sex Marriage Debate in America
Presenter: James Stoker, Alliance, Valparaiso University
Mueller Hall: 33
 

Description: With our nation's most recent election there is a sense that change is in the air, yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. Before November 4th only three states issued same-sex couples marriage licenses and held their unions in equal regard to heterosexual unions. Now that number has diminished to two, with several other states applying restrictions against same-sex couples adopting children. This session will look at the history behind the institutionalization of same-sex marriage discrimination and analyze the current political climate to see if change is, in fact, possible. A presentation of historically significant events in marriage laws will be followed by an open discussion among those attending.

 

Culture, Diversity, and America: Where Are We Headed?
Presenters: Eric Gutierrez and Ryan Colley, Latinos in Valparaiso for Excellence (LIVE)
Mueller Hall: 12
 

Description: This presentation will examine issues of culture, race, and the current immigration debate in the U.S. We will look at the development of an “American” culture and determine what shape it has taken historically and to what extent it will change in the future with changing demographics. Discussion will be followed with an interactive activity used to show how communication and teamwork between different groups of people can take place despite their differences. 



FOCUS SESSION I and II: TWO HOUR SESSIONS 1:15–3:30 p.m.


Easier Said than Done: Are We Nurturing Diversity in the Classroom?
Presenter: Professor Michele Monson, Valparaiso University
Mueller Hall: 140

Description: What was it about your own upbringing that prepared you to nurture – not just manage – diversity in the classroom? Session participants will be invited to reflect upon their own disposition toward diversity and assess personal and institutional competencies needed to address the potential within increasingly diverse educational settings, as they explore strategies for working together with students of all ages in culturally interactive ways and for creating a more internationally conscious orientation within the classroom. 



FOCUS SESSION I and II: REPEATED SESSIONS 1:15-2:15 p.m.; 2:30-3:30 p.m.    

 

Reflections on the Changing of an Era
Presenter: Pastor Derek Perkins, Community Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Valparaiso
Mueller Hall: Refectory
Description: Pastor Perkins reflects on his experience growing up in rural Mississippi during the civil rights movement. He recalls how he stood at the steps of the courthouse in Philadelphia, MS as Aaron Henry prayed for justice for three slain civil rights workers and how he heard Fannie Lou Hamer as she articulated the struggle for voters’ rights. He also recalls more painful experiences, including the time his father was beaten almost to death by highway patrol officers in Brandon, MS because he helped lead a boycott in Mendenhall as well as how he was jailed with his father for trying to stop the beating of a black man who was in police custody. He has a hard time believing how far we have come and now is determined to lead the march to reconciliation.

 

Moving Toward Fulfilling the Dream: Study Circles on Race Relations
Presenters: Professor William Marion and Jane Bello-Brunson, Valparaiso University
Mueller Hall: 10

Description: Much has changed for the good since the time of the modern civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. However, there is much still to be done. The Study Circles course has been set up as a way to continue the conversation about race relations and to continue to move all of us forward. This session is an interactive exploration of race relations in America through the Study Circles program. With the help of a small group of students, the session leaders will simulate a typical conversation that takes place in the Study Circles classroom...a safe place to explore difficult subject matter. Attendees will, then, be invited to join the Circle by addressing some of the issues raised.


That’s Life
Presenter: Brittanie Becker, Habitat for Humanity, Valparaiso University
Huegli Hall: Lumina Room

Description: Participants will play a game of monopoly. The game creates division among players, displaying the diversity in the world, and the inequalities that people face because of their differences, whether class, race, or otherwise. Through the discussion, the players will be able to identify how the game represents the world, how it relates to MLK’s dream, and how these situations still exist. The players will be encouraged to also discuss what we are doing to face these inequalities in our communities and what we can do to work toward the fulfillment of the dream unfulfilled. 

 

Perspectives on Women in Ministry
Presenters: Elyssa Salinas and Emily Weller, Valparaiso University
Mueller Hall: 20

Description: By facilitating discussion on women in ministry, this session will help people explore whether Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream has been fulfilled in the church as well as in society. The session begins with a brief history of women in ministry, focusing on the Lutheran Church. A panel discussion follows, including Valpo theology professors, campus pastors, and Valpo professors who attend Lutheran churches outside of Valpo. There will also be time for questions.

 

Praise Is What I Do...The Worshipper in Me
Presenter: Nicholas Henton, Black Student Organization; Another Level Ministries
VUCA: Duesenberg Hall

Description: Although the dream of racial unity is unfulfilled, God has served as a constant source of strength for African Americans. In this session, musical selections, live band, choir, praise dancers, mime, the spoken word, and reflection all play a role in depicting blacks’ faith and adoration of God even in the midst of struggle. Dr. King served as a similar source of inspiration and strength as African Americans have struggled over the course of many years to relate to others racially, spiritually, and socially.

 

Black and White and Read All Over: An Exploration and Discussion of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Violence in Kara Walker's Mural Installations
Presenter: Instructor Liz Maynard, Valparaiso University
Mueller Hall: 14

Description: Not only will this session be an educational exploration of Kara Walker’s work, but it will employ the practice of looking, which is so vital to not only art historical practice, but to discerning the world in which we live. Walker’s work can be described as humorous, grotesque, obscene, and appalling, and it is all of these features working together that force the viewer through a process of first discerning and then making sense of the complex and intricate tableaus she presents. By forcing this process of reconciling the sexually and violently explicit subject matter with the ordinarily genteel 19th century silhouette tradition, the viewer comes to understand the grotesque nature that belies the power dynamic behind slavery and racism.

 

The World’s Dream: A Dream Becoming True!
Presenters: Carol Dahlen and Sandra Maytan
Harre Union: 264

Description: Americans have for decades been raised with the idea that everything is possible, achievable, attainable, and will become true if you work hard enough. The latest developments in the economic, ecological and social crisis are teaching us a different lesson. Parallel to that there has been a far older dream that is about to become true for the first time in the world’s history: The unity of mankind in its diversity, a world free of war, a world of peace. How is that possible, we may ask, in this chaotic day and age in which international forces strive and conflict while economic turmoil and ecological catastrophes are endangering our very existence on this planet? In a globalized world a single country cannot live and fulfill its dream anymore if it is based on the suffering and exploitation of others, as has happened for so long. We can only live and fulfill the American Dream if we fulfill the World’s Dream first.

 

Diversity Goes to War? A Look at Hollywood During World War II
Presenter: Instructor Bridget Kies, Valparaiso University
CCLIR: Board of Directors Room

Description: This focus session will examine clips of several movies made prior to and during the American engagement in World War II to see how representations of race and diversity demonstrate American unity in the face of "the enemy." From the romance and intrigue of Casablanca to the glory of ethnically diverse troops at battle, Hollywood in the late 1930s and 1940s presented a wider range of cultures and race on screen than ever before - but not entirely without problems. Open discussion will follow the presentation.

 

A Mascot By Any Other Name Would Still Rock
Presenter: Kevin Geiman, Valparaiso University Identity (VUID)
Mueller Hall: 2

Description: This discussion-based session will focus on the use of symbols with emphasis on the Crusader mascot. In a world where we are trying to move away from memories, actions, and images that are hurtful in the way that they reflect past injustices, it is an inappropriate message to represent VU students with a mascot that embodies such a painful and unjust past, in the name of Christianity. It is not a matter of political correctness but of coming to grips with our past and not fostering the same or similar wrongs in the present. In this way, our mascot is an issue where we see that the dream is not quite fulfilled and only through this kind of education can we hope for such fulfillment.

Inclusion in the program does not constitute endorsement by Valparaiso University or the MLK Steering Committee of any of the views presented.