Photo by David Raji

The second Monday of the new semester will see classrooms devoid of students as Tech ceases operations in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Though most students will use this as an opportunity to sleep in and put off homework for an extra day, some will use it as the kickoff to a week full of programs and service honoring one of Atlanta’s most prominent historical figures.

While MLK Day is held on the third Monday of every year, the events have already begun. On Jan. 11, Tech hosted attorney and CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers for a lecture on Dr. King’s legacy and the current state of America’s civil rights movement.

Along with being named in Time Magazine’s “40 Under 40” multiple times, Sellers has served in the South Carolina’s legislature since age 22, making him the youngest elected official in the country at the time. He also played a role in President Obama’s South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election. His lecture dealt with, in his words, “how far have we come, and where do we go from here.”

Jan. 12 saw the Student Center ballroom play host to a celebration dubbed “Coming Together to Fulfill the Dream,” which included a candle-lighting ceremony. From Jan. 12–15, Tech is sponsoring two more events: their Focus Program and a Washington, D.C., civil rights tour. The Focus Program, held in the Tech Hotel and Conference Center, is a program designed to raise awareness of Tech’s graduate programs among underrepresented populations. The D.C. tour is a three-day event in which students and faculty will visit important civil rights sites in the nation’s capital.

On Saturday, Jan. 14, Georgia’s own Alonzo King will be bringing the LINES Ballet dancers to the Ferst Center at 8 p.m. for a show “that draw[s] on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions, imbuing classical ballet with new expressive potential,” per the Institute Diversity website.

The actual holiday itself, Jan. 16, presents students with the opportunity to partner with groups around Atlanta for various service projects. Information on how to get involved can be found at diversity.gatech.edu.

The Georgia Tech Cable Network will be screening a series of documentaries focused on civil rights issues available for viewing throughout the month.

Wednesday night, Jan. 18, will give students the opportunity to participate in an open discussion about race relations in American society. From 8–10 p.m., the Christian Campus Fellowship will be holding an event called “Spectrum” in which anyone is free to contribute to a dialogue on diversity in the community and ways to bridge cultural divides.

To cap the events off, Tech student Danielle Mathis will be presenting her original musical production “What’s Going On” in the Ferst Center. The production, focused on social justice issues faced by today’s society, will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Jan 25. Admission is free and open to
the public.