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Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

With political leaders and the press whitewashing and appropriating his life and legacy, I think it worthwhile to post two videos on Martin Luther King, Jr. The first is MLK Jr.’s “Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam,” and the second is Cornell West’s recent speech on Obama’s decision to use MLK Jr.’s bible for his inauguration. Under the videos is posted a MLK Jr. event happening at Illinois Wesleyan University.

MLK Jr. Day in BloNo

To commemorate the philosophy and life Martin Luther King Jr. day, students and faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University are hosting a panel focusing on social justice this special day. The event is at the Hansen Student Center, Illinois Wesleyan University campus, starting at 1 pm.

The panel will cover a number of issues, from prison reform to human rights:

Each year students gather at the Hansen Student Center on King Day and discuss a social justice theme. This year the theme is Prison Reform and Human Rights. The teach-in consists of three separate hour-long panels.

This year the 1 p.m. panel on Prison Reform in Illinois will feature a keynote address by John Maki, Executive Director of the John Howard Association of Illinois. Bob Sutherland of the Central Illinois chapter of the ACLU and member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) of McLean County will also speak. The CJCC has worked over the past twelve years to improve conditions at the McLean County jail and to relieve overcrowding with initiatives like the Drug Court and Mental Health Court. Attendees will have time following these presentations to consider discussion questions at their tables and will report back to the whole.

The 2 p.m. panel is being organized by the IWU Peace Fellows, who will present information they have collected over the last two years while advocating for political prisoners across the globe. Last year they worked on the Chen Guangcheng case, and this year they are working on the case of two Russian physicists. Discussion questions will be provided. The 3 p.m. panel will feature a discussion of a shared text: Andrew Clapham’s Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007). The assembled will first discuss the text at their tables and then with the whole. This title was distributed to 70 students who participated in the fall semester cluster of courses focusing on Making Human Rights Real (MHRR).

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