Martin Luther King Jr. Day To Feature Dr. Freedman A. Hrabowski

For Phillips Academy students, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not just a day off. Students and faculty members will honor the holiday with a special All-School Meeting (ASM) speaker, Dr. Freedman A. Hrabowski and through various discussion-based workshops. Andover’s 22nd observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will feature scheduled events focusing on themes of equity, education and excellence. Linda Griffith, Dean of Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD), said “[It is] our call to get involved by first becoming aware so that we as the [recipients] of an Andover education can find our individual ways to make a difference. Education happens everywhere and everyday at this institution: in the classroom, on the fields, in the studios, in the theatres and in our dorms.” “MLK Day is another opportunity for members of our community to engage in the issues that are relevant in our world today,” she continued. An extended ASM with Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and a child leader during the Civil Rights Movement, will kick-off the day’s events. According to Griffith, Hrabowski plans to share his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement that led to his arrest at age 12 in his speech on Monday. The Phillips Academy Gospel Choir will perform in the Chapel following Hrabowski’s presentation. After the ASM, students will participate in a range of interactive programs. Juniors and Lowers will attend Dr. Michael Fowlen’s presentation, “You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me,” a 75 minute one man show which addresses issues of race, discrimination, violence prevention, personal identity, gender equity and homophobia. Griffith noted in the faculty Gazette that she invited Fowlin back to campus after an amazing performance last year. “Michael Fowlin slips in and out of nine characters, both male and female, who share their stories in an often humorous, but at times heartbreaking, manner,” she wrote. 15 workshops, led and designed by the MLK Day Committee, will be offered to Uppers and Seniors as well as members of the faculty and staff. The MLK Day Committee tailored the workshops to address issues that are personal or related to community life at Phillips Academy. The workshops will feature various topics, including racial and ethic stereotypes, the implosion of Los Angeles in 1992, the re-segregation of schools, interracial dating, public health, bias in language and the media’s portrayal of women. Discussions, games and guest speakers will provide students with a holistic understanding of the topics discussed. Phillips Academy will host a total of eight guest speakers in the workshops. Farris Peale ’14, Shelby Carpenter ’12 and John Bird, Instructor in English, created a new workshop that will explore the role of language, stereotypes and prejudices. Peale said, “Martin Luther King, Jr. was a skilled orator, and he definitely valued language. We have to think about language in terms of how it is used to oppress people because that was definitely one of the issues he addressed.”. “On the larger topic of diversity, I think words that we use everyday are actually the most common [links] to these kinds of issues. Some issues only apply to certain individuals, but language applies to everyone,” she added. In past years, a workshop dedicated to multiracial relationships drew high levels of student interest. A similar workshop called, “Ever Heard of the Term Yellow Fever? Frost Bite? Jungle Fever?” led by Megan Paulson, Fatoumata Diarra ’13, Diondra Peck ’13 and Chelsea Grain ’12 will be offered again this year. Sung Woo Hong ’13, a member of the MLK Day Committee, said, “MLK Day is really about spreading awareness about social issues and injustices, so when I designed my workshop, I tried to think about how my workshop could address these social dilemmas and enlighten the Phillips Academy community.” “Students want more tools to become more involved in the issues they care about. [For example,] the Occupy Movement has demonstrated a desire for youth activism,” wrote Griffith in an e-mail to The Phillipian. According to Griffith, MLK Day is an opportunity to discuss prominent and difficult issues within the community. “[I hope to] create a climate on campus that will allow us to reflect, think, and talk about the challenging issues that face an increasingly diverse community and world,” wrote Griffith in the faculty Gazette.