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30th Anniversary of MLK Convocation Inspires Students

30th Anniversary of MLK Convocation Inspires Students

Otterbein students have long been inspired by the teachings and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. This year, to spread the word of openness and understanding, Otterbein has invited author Debby Irving to speak at its 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation. The free public lecture will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, in Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St.

In her book Waking Up White, Irving shares her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions and offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners and tolerance. As she unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race.

Prior to taking a graduate school course, Racial and Cultural Identities, Irving worked closely with racially diverse groups and struggled to make sense of tensions she could feel but not explain in racially mixed settings. The course gave her the answers she had been looking for and launched her on a journey of discovery. Irving now devotes herself to working with white people exploring the impact white skin can have on perception, problem solving and engaging in racial justice work.

While Irving invites the Otterbein community to unpack privilege in her message, the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) will invite people to pack macaroni and cheese dinners for Westerville and Otterbein community members struggling with food insecurity.

The Pack the Mac event will be held from 5-10 p.m. on Jan. 20 in the Campus Center, 100 W. Home St. Members of the Otterbein community and the general public are invited to lend a hand.

“When we heard about this program to package nutritious macaroni and cheese meals, we wanted to be part of a national effort to eradicate hunger,” said Dr. Melissa Gilbert, director of the Center for Community Engagement and associate dean for experiential learning. “This is a unique assembly line process, and anyone can join our food packaging efforts. It is a unique opportunity for students and local volunteers to work together to make a positive impact on our community.”

Hunger is a serious problem for some families in Franklin County, Ohio. Many school-age and college students also struggle with hunger.

The macaroni and cheese meals were created by Iowa State University’s Food Science Department and are nutritious and tasty. All of the meals will stay in our community and be distributed by Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM) and the new Otterbein campus food co-op, which will help to ease the food insecurity of Otterbein students.

Otterbein University will package the meals with financial assistance from a grant from Iowa Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The $2,000 grant will provide over 5,000 meals and 600 pounds of food.

Learn more about the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation.

Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. events on campus.

Learn more about the Center for Community Engagement and their events.