Rollins Honors the Pursuit of Justice During MLK Week

January 12, 2024

By Jessica Firpi ’11

MLK week celebration in Knowles Chapel
Photo by Scott Cook.

Rollins pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, legacy, and dedication to civil rights through a week filled with inspiring activities.

Each year, the Rollins community comes together to honor the enduring life and legacy of legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. through a week of service and reflection. Inspired by one of MLK’s most poignant quotes, the 2024 theme—“true peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice”—is the cornerstone for the week’s events, service-learning projects, and community discussions.

The celebration aligns seamlessly with Rollins’ focus on providing learning opportunities through service, acting as a symbol of our ongoing dedication to fostering a more diverse and equitable culture in our surrounding communities.

As Rollins remains steadfast in the pursuit of racial justice, this year’s slate of programming, sponsored by the Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging in collaboration with other campus partners, encourages Tars to examine King’s words about the interdependence of peace and justice.

Ready to get involved? Here’s a look at this year’s lineup of events.

Rollins students packing food on an immersion
Photo by Scott Cook.

Annual MLK Day of Service

  • When: Monday, January 15, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Where: Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, 3rd Floor

Spend the morning in community as we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through service. In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, we will be working toward our goal of packing 1,500 meal packs for children facing food insecurity in the Greater Orlando community. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization that collects, stores, and distributes donated food to more than 625 feeding partners across seven Central Florida counties.

Any member of the Rollins community is welcome to join. All participants will receive a “VolunTAR” T-shirt. Sign up here.

Students celebrating MLK week in Knowles Chapel
Photo by Scott Cook.

Annual MLK Vigil with Keynote Speaker Dr. Terrell Strayhorn

  • When: Monday, January 15, 6-7:15 p.m.
  • Where: Tiedtke Concert Hall

Deepen your understanding of King’s message through a night of community reflection and discussion. Guided by keynote speaker Terrell Strayhorn, this year’s MLK Vigil centers on the 2024 theme—“true peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” Best known for his work around student success and belonging, Strayhorn serves as the director of the Center for the Study of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the principal investigator at the Belonging Lab at Virginia Union University. The event will include special performances from students within the theatre and dance department and a spoken-word piece performed by Blu Bailey, founder of The Write, an organization focused on mentoring teens through creative writing, poetry, and hip-hop culture.

Rollins students walking the labyrinth path
Photo by Scott Cook.

National Racial Day of Healing: Labyrinth Walk and Reflection

  • When: Tuesday, January 16, 4-5 p.m.
  • Where: Knowles Memorial Chapel, Labyrinth

Join moderator Marjorie Trueblood, dean of Rollins’ Center for Inclusion & Belonging, in a conversation of healing and a guided walk around the labyrinth outside Knowles Memorial Chapel, where you’ll reflect on King’s spirit and message as you stroll the winding path with your peers.

Rollins students playing trivia in Dave's Boathouse
Photo by Scott Cook.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Themed Trivia

  • When: Tuesday, January 16, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Dave’s Boathouse

Trivia extraordinaire Curtis Earth will host a unique trivia night focusing on civil rights and the enduring legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Come prepared to test your knowledge—and learn something in the process.

Student writes a message of kindness in chalk on the sidewalk.
Photo by Scott Cook.

5-Minute Difference

  • When: Thursday, January 18, 12:30–1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Cornell Campus Center

Stop by the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement table outside the Campus Center for a short activity centered on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Additional Programming

National Day of Racial Healing: Understanding Privilege Workshop (for Staff)

  • When: Tuesday, January 16, 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Where: Cornell Campus Center, Bieberbach-Reed Room

In observance of the National Day of Racial Healing, Rollins staff are invited to participate in an Understanding Privilege workshop. This highly engaged and experiential workshop will be facilitated by the Peace and Justice Institute—an innovative, award-winning organization recognized for creating spaces for engaging in difficult conversations to cultivate a healthy and accountable organizational culture centered on inclusive excellence. The Understanding Privilege workshop will assist participants’ understanding of what is meant by privilege (unearned advantage) and explore multiple areas and systems of privilege through the scholarship and advocacy work of Peggy McIntosh. The workshop fosters a safe space for participants to share life experiences that shaped them in relation to race and systems of privilege and disadvantage. Attendees will be entered in a raffle for select giveaway items.

Sign up here. Space is limited.

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