Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. honored this month


Contributed photo.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Jan. 16 and the campus community is honoring King's legacy with several events in January. All events are free and open to the public.  

  • POSTPONED to Jan. 23 due to inclement weather: Community birthday celebration, (6-7:30 p.m., Ames Middle School, 3915 Mortensen Rd). Celebrate King's birthday with music, stories and birthday cake. A program begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Legacy convocation, Jan. 19 (3:30 p.m., Memorial Union, Sun Room). Panel discussion on the topic of King's dream and how it is -- or is not -- being actualized in this country's current social justice climate. Panelists are faculty members Lori Patton Davis, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; and T. Elon Dancy II, University of Oklahoma. Moderator is Daniel Spikes, ISU School of Education. The Advancing One Community Awards also will be presented. The 2017 recipients are: 
  • Student: Noel Gonzalez, a graduate student in architecture, has created inclusive spaces across campus, particularly in the College of Design and through the Multicultural Vision Program. He was instrumental in re-establishing the National Organization of Minority Architects at ISU and helped create the BUILD mentorship program in the College of Design.
  • Faculty: Javier Vela-Becerra, associate professor in chemistry, is the founder of the ISU chapter of Colegas, an organization that strengthens the bonds between Hispanic/Latinx faculty and staff on campus and the Ames community. He also founded Project SEED, which provides summer science and research experience for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged high school students. Currently, he serves as the equity adviser for the College of Human Sciences. 
  • Staff: Nicci Port, project director for diversity and inclusion for LGBTQA+ affairs, has worked for a more inclusive ISU campus for 15 years. She is the founder of the LGBTQA+ Faculty and Staff Association, the ISU Pride Summit and the ISU Faculty and Staff Affinity Council. In addition to her current role under the vice president of diversity and inclusion, Port has advocated for justice and inclusion through her work in the department of residence, dean of students office and the College of Human Sciences. 
  • Lecture, "A Deeper Black: Race in America," Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jan. 30 (7 p.m., MU Great Hall). Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic and author of several books conveying the challenges of being black in America. His latest book, "Between the World and Me," is written as a letter to his teenage son about the challenges he'll face growing up black in America. Coates also is journalist in residence at the School of Journalism at City University of New York's School of Journalism and a contributor to Time, O and The New York Times Magazine. Previously, he was the Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Associate Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Service opportunities

A few campus groups are hosting service opportunities on Jan. 16 for faculty, staff and students to honor King.

  • GIS mapping party: Iowa State's geographic information systems (GIS) facility and IowaView are hosting a mapping party (10 a.m.-1 p.m., 206 Durham). No experience is necessary. Attendees will participate in Open Street Map (OSM), a crowd-sourced map of the world that is open source, free and available for any use. OSM provides online web mapping tools for users to map roads, buildings, water bodies and features of interest using satellite imagery as a base. Past projects have worked with the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders to create new maps in areas of the world dealing with disasters and emergencies. To participate, register via email by Jan. 13; list your pizza preference and whether you need a laptop computer.
  • Sole Hope: The Workspace is hosting a volunteer day for Sole Hope (2-10 p.m., east basement of the MU). Volunteers will cut shapes out of denim jeans to form a shoe. These will be shipped to Uganda, where local shoemakers will craft shoes that are given out at medical clinics to help prevent foot-related diseases caused by jigger bugs. Donations of jeans can be dropped off in advance at The Workspace. Sole Hope encourages a $10 donation per pair of shoes, but it is not required to attend.