February 01, 2024

Susquehanna University commemorates the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with its annual MLK Week, a series of events beginning with Winter Convocation and continuing through February in celebration of Black History Month.

New this year were a series of Lunch and Learns presented by three of Susquehanna’s student-led organizations: International Student Association, Gender & Sexuality Alliance and Black Student Union.

“Change cannot happen without student-led conversations,” said Madison Dennehey ’24 president of the Gender & Sexuality Alliance.

Panelists shared their experiences as international, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC students at Susquehanna, and the challenges that come from attending a predominantly white institution. The panelists collectively encouraged faculty, staff and students to seek out training that would help them to combat acts of racism and become an effective ally.

Winter Convocation, which this year featured award-winning hip-hop artist and activist Che “Rhymefest” Kweku, opened the start of the spring semester and kicked off the university’s MLK Week events. Rhymefest’s lecture, Breaking Down Walls & Building Bridges, was a reflection on using positions of leverage to address issues of police brutality, systematic biases and lack of services. He also discussed ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Israel, and the apparent double standard Black refugees face when fleeing conflict.

This year, 23 faculty, staff and students presented a multilingual reading of King’s “The World House,” a chapter in the last book he wrote, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? The reading was presented in nearly two dozen languages, including, Dutch, Italian and Swedish and Amharic, Hindi, Swahili and Tagalong.

Upcoming events in celebration of Black History Month include:

  • Justice and Belonging – An Interfaith Service, Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 4:30 p.m., Stretansky Concert Hall, Cunningham Center for Music & Art. This celebration brings together student speakers and community leaders from diverse religious, spiritual and secular traditions.
  • Black Excellence Showcase, 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, Isaacs Auditorium, Seibert Hall. This year’s Black Excellence Showcase will include singing, dancing, the presentation of original poems, and other spoken word performances.