University of Detroit Mercy celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 20

Photo courtesy of Detroit Mercy

University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit Mercy) is commemorating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a pair of events in mid-January. 
Alex Zamalin, associate professor of Political Science and director of the African American Studies program at Detroit Mercy, and a student panel will discuss King’s legacy in a webinar on Thursday, January 20, from 12:45 to 2 p.m. 

Students and employees can hone their artistic abilities by creating their own African mask for an arts and crafts contest on Tuesday, January 25, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the McNichols Campus Library. 

“We are focusing on the arts and our annual webinar with Professor Alex Zamalin,” said Dorothy Stewart, associate dean of Students and chair of Detroit Mercy’s Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month planning team. “The students on the planning team wanted to emphasize arts and crafts.” 

Zamalin specializes in African American history and political thought, and has written several books and essays on the subjects. He and Detroit Mercy students will examine how cultural concerns from recent events have impacted King’s legacy. 

Those interested in participating in the webinar must register in advance at register/WN_bIV6iDTVR_-BjTJh5 k3Jxw.

“It's more than just reflecting on the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., but also reflecting on how we live out the values daily,” Stewart said. "We should not sit back and be complacent or comfortable because something is not impacting us directly, but constantly improve on working on inequities in society today.” 

The African mask event returns this year after being part of Detroit Mercy’s Black History Month programming in 2021.  

Creators of the top three masks, as voted on by Black Student Union members, will receive a $50 gift card. All African masks created and submitted for the arts and crafts competition will be showcased by the McNichols Campus Library in a virtual museum. The event is co-sponsored by Detroit Mercy’s Student Life Office and the Black Student Union. 

“We have learned with the lockdown process that the students really enjoy some type of arts and craft project,” she said. “We surveyed students a year ago and they requested more of this style for events.” 

Stewart says she hopes people will learn and experience “that many of the freedoms we enjoy now are linked back to Martin Luther King Jr. and his philosophy that ‘all men are created equal’” through this programming.  

The University will also celebrate Black History Month with a variety of events throughout February. 

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