Purdue events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.

Justice Robert Rucker, the 105th appointee to the Indiana Supreme Court and before that a judge on the Indiana Court of Appeals, will keynote the Purdue University celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 16. Last year’s theme, “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” will carry into the 2018 celebration.

“We are proud to be able to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King at Purdue University with a variety of programs and activities,” says Renee Thomas, director of the Purdue Black Cultural Center. “The keynote address by Judge Rucker will be the highlight of the celebration.”

Rucker, who retired last year, was the first African American to serve on the Indiana Court of Appeals and only the second African American to serve on the Supreme Court of Indiana, having been appointed in 1999. He will speak at 6:30 p.m. in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse. His presentation is titled “An Evening with Justice Robert Rucker.” It is free and open to the public.

Rucker, who grew up in Gary, Indiana, is recognized as a pioneer in his dedication to increasing the diversity in the legal profession. He appointed people of color to serve on various Supreme Court boards and commissions, as well as consistently hiring lawyers of color to serve as his law clerks on the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

Rucker was appointed to serve as a judge on the Indiana Court of Appeals in 1991. During his time on the Court of Appeals, Rucker served as vice chair of the Indiana Commission for Continuing Legal Education. He holds the accomplishment of being the longest-sitting justice, having served 18 years.

“Judge Rucker has dedicated his career to civil rights issues and has been a champion of diversity and inclusion,” Thomas said. “He has a strong commitment to equality for all, and audience members will be inspired by his personal journey.”

Rucker’s talk will be preceded by a 5:46 p.m. candlelight vigil and march from the Black Cultural Center to Loeb Playhouse, hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

In addition, the Purdue Dreamer Award will be presented at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 during the King event. The award is presented annually to an individual or organization whose contributions embody King’s vision of service and further the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Additional information about the award, including nomination forms and a list of previous recipients, can be found at http://www.purdue.edu/dro/Dreamer%20Award/index.html. For question, contact Carolyn Johnson, director of the Diversity Resource Office, at dro@purdue.edu or 765-494-7307.

Other celebration highlights include:

* Jan. 15. MLK Day of Service, coordinated by Vanessa Pacheco, Purdue’s coordinator for civic engagement. Open to Purdue students, faculty, staff members and retirees. Volunteers will celebrate the legacy of King by serving local community service agencies in Tippecanoe County. Registration and more information is available online.

* Jan. 15 to 19 in Beering Hall. Traveling Whiteboard Event.

* Jan. 15. 4 to 6 p.m. West Lafayette Public Library, 208 W Columbia St. An all-ages celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy featuring powerful stories and songs that will bring to life the Civil Rights movement and a big-screen viewing of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Organized by West Lafayette Public Library and Purdue’s Martin Luther King Planning Committee.

* Jan. 16. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Knoy Hall lobby. The Minority Technology Association will invite individuals to share their dreams and reflections of King’s “I Have a Dream” message on the Purdue Polytechnic “dream wall.”

* Jan. 16. 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Krannert Building’s Krannert Drawing Room. School of Management Employers Forum coffee hour and performance by The Purdue Express.

* Jan. 16. 12 to 1:30 p.m. in Pfendler Hall, Deans Auditorium (Room 241). Showing of the documentary “Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine.” Brown bag lunch. Snacks and water provided.

* Jan. 17. 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Stewart Center, Room 314, and 2 to 3:30 pm in Wilmeth Active Learning Center, Room 1132. “Let’s Talk About Race” workshops. Led by Fernando Burga, assistant professor in urban planning and regional planning at the University of Minnesota, and Eriks Dunens, statewide extension educator in leadership and civic engagement at the University of Minnesota.

* Jan. 17. 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Rawls Hall, Room 3082. “The Intersectional Ally” workshop presented by Tarah Fleming. Participants will enact the work of building solidarity using storytelling and group dialog on issues of identity relating to race, orientation, gender, ability and class.

* Jan. 17. 12 to 1 p.m. in Stewart Center, Room 204. “Civility and Emotional Resilience in Polarized Times.”

* Jan. 17. 4 to 5 p.m. in Krannert Building, Parrish Library Corporate Study Room. “Become an Ally” Safe Zone Training with the Purdue LGBTQ Center.

* Jan. 17. 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Black Cultural Center, Room MP2. Kinfolk Dinner (Poetry and Oral Stores). Featuring Danicia Malone, Sarah Speir and Florence Adibu.

* Jan. 18. 12 to 1:30 p.m. in Pfendler Hall, Deans Auditorium (Room 241). “MLK Jr. Influence on Poverty and Nutrition Education.” Brown bag lunch. Speakers include Emily Wickert Brant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry; Amy Carter, Indiana Institute for Working Families; and Maxine Thomas, RESULTS Indianapolis. Moderated by Melissa Maulding, director of Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Programs.

* Jan. 18. 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center. “Who is MLK? And Other World Activists: Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, Ella Baker, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai.”

* Jan. 19. 11:30 a.m. in Krannert Building, Krannert Auditorium. Krannert Executive Forum led by Roland Parrish.

* Jan. 19. Noon to 1:30 p.m. in Pfendler Hall, Deans Auditorium (Room 241). “Family Feud, Purdue Style: Opinions and Facts about the Life of Martin Luther King Jr.” A live game show for faculty, staff graduate students, undergraduate students and alumni. College of Agriculture vs. College of Health and Human Sciences.

* Jan. 19. 3 p.m. in Krannert Building, Krannert Drawing Room. BOP 50th Celebration Kickoff: A Toast to Dr. Cornell A. Bell.

* Jan. 19. 5:30 p.m. in Krannert Building, Room G016. Dating Across Racial Groups. Film viewing and panel discussion.

Writers: Olivia Crouse, ocrouse@purdue.edu
Kelsey Schnieders Lefever, kschnied@purdue.edu

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Purdue events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.