Lessons from Martin Luther King Jr. Observance


Smith Chapel filled with students and faculty for Monday’s ceremony

Simpson held its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Observance on Monday, January 17 in Smith Chapel. Whether students attended for course credit, to check a forum event off the list or simply out of interest, it would have been hard for any student to walk away without a fresh perspective.

Arguably, the keynote address from Ed C. Barnes, executive director of Willkie House, Inc., provided the most moving and memorable piece of the event. Central to his speech, Barnes challenged the audience to find truth, oppose wrong, protect innocence, promote good and do right, five principles outlined by King.

Hearing this challenge led me to question exactly how we, as a Simpson community, can live up to these five values. My answer: take advantage of the small opportunities to do good. Classes, jobs and commitments keep us all busy and it remains a daunting challenge to truly incorporate King’s five principles into daily living. However, it’s not hard to find small opportunities to live out these values around Simpson’s campus.

On Saturday, January 16, RLC held the Five Dollar Formal and Beggar’s Banquet to raise used clothing and canned food to donate to SIFE’s (Students in Free Enterprise) food drive for Campbell’s “Let’s Can Hunger” project. Students were encouraged to attend in a $5 outfit, making it a fun and quirky way to contribute. While final numbers were not available as of this posting, an estimate from Erin Guzman, the chapel intern of spiritual formation and celebration, shows that the event raised over 200 items of clothing.

If you attended and contributed, congratulations for being a part of an important cause. Whether you did or did not attend, keep your ears open in the future. Next time you get word of a group or organization on campus hosting a philanthropy or community service event, organize your own group and friends and secure as many people as possible to lend their support. Time and again, this “grassroots” method works for SGA, Greek chapters and other groups, so you might be surprised by the response you receive.

Consider it a small opportunity to do good.

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