Valparaiso University’s 21st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will feature the inspirational coach and founder of the Fugees Soccer Team, composed of young refugees from war-torn nations, as part of activities taking place Jan. 14 to 20.
Luma Mufleh, whose experiences are told in the national bestselling book “Outcasts United,” will be the keynote speaker at Valpo’s MLK Convocation on Jan. 17. She will reflect on this year’s theme “MLK’s Field of Dreams: Justice as a Team Sport,” calling attention to the crucial role of teamwork in bringing about positive social change, and the role of athletics in empowering historically oppressed groups and in bringing together people from diverse backgrounds.
During the MLK Convocation, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Chapel of the Resurrection on campus and open to the public, Mufleh will discuss how she became involved with the Fugees, the plight of the children she helps and what they teach her in turn.
The team is comprised of players from 18 war-torn countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Congo, Somalia and Sudan. Mufleh helps the players develop support networks for themselves and their entire families by weaving together a community based on shared experiences, both on and off the field.
Mufleh also helped found the Fugees Family, which assists refugee families transitioning to life in the United States, and Fresh Start, a cleaning service that employs immigrants or refugees, many of whom are parents of the players.
After the convocation, Mufleh will attend a public luncheon and answer questions from the audience.
Valpo’s first-year Core students read about Mufleh and the Fugees in “Outcasts United” as part of their fall semester readings on origins, education and love.
Valpo’s MLK Celebration is an annual event that honors King’s legacy through focus sessions, film screenings, musical performances, art exhibits and service events. More information is available online at www.valpo.edu/mlk.