Meditation, Ballet and Theater at MLK Week

Raven Quesenberry
NYU's Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration week takes place from February 1 to 6.

Activism, advocacy and awareness seem to be the recurring theme in Greenwich Village this week as NYU launches MLK Week 2016.

Titled “There Comes A Time…” in reference to Martin Luther King Jr’s speech at the Montgomery Bus Boycott, this is a week-long series of events put on by the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs as a means of remembering and furthering the MLK legacy.

The week will kick off with African Heritage Month’s “Night of Unity,” as well as a guided talk and meditation on the importance of justice and nonviolence put on by the Global Center for Art and Spiritual Life. The following five days will feature everything from a theatrical performance inspired by King and Malcolm X to conversations about advocacy and tolerance.

The most advertised of these has been Thursday’s university-wide event consisting of an interview with Misty Copeland — the first African-American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater — and a series of speeches from other highly influential figures in the community.

Many student organizations have been involved in the planning of the week, including the Black Student Union, Gentlemen of Quality and Women of Excellence, Strength and Tenacity.

CAS senior and president of the Black Student Union Arielle Andrews said the club was looking forward to being involved in multiple events, as well as using the week as a platform for the sort of community involvement that King preached.

“We’re partnering with the MLK Week Committee to raise money for our ‘NYU for Flint’ initiative at both the Janet Mock and Misty Copeland events,” Andrews said.

Students across the NYU community similarly stressed the importance of King’s legacy, especially on a campus so rich with advocacy and a passion for social change.

CAS junior and committee chair of the Black and Brown Coalition Juan Manuel Calero Canaval said the legacy of MLK was a complicated one, but CMEP was doing a particularly good job of upholding its multiplicity.

“Especially in light of this past semester when dozens of organizations and a significant group of the student body simply had enough of what currently is and demanded NYU change,” said Canaval. “It is that root, that exhaustion, and the change that grows out of that place of suffering and hope that is especially important for a place like NYU that prides itself on its diversity.

CAS freshman and MLK Scholar Sarah Salvatierra said this was particularly refreshing coming from
an institution.

“It says that they care about marginalized groups, whereas other universities often don’t give that attention to all of their student populations,” Salvatierra said. “That’s why his legacy was so important: it reshaped, or at least started to reshape, a lot of narratives for those marginalized groups.”

As King expressed, there comes a time when people must speak out against the wrongs done to them and the injustices they have suffered. This week at NYU, there comes a time to come together as a university and do
just that.

 

A version of this story appeared in the Monday, Feb. 1 print issue. Email Raven Quesenberry at [email protected] 

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