For the 27th consecutive year, the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity at UNH will be holding its annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute during the month of February, starting on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
This homage will be presented through a series of events that the coordination team believes will help students and others interested, find a place of hope and compassion where it is safe to share ideals, inspirations and everyday struggles.
Associate vice president of the office, Jaime Nolan, along with educational program coordinator of events, Sylvia Foster, are in charge of deciding what events will take place every year.
Foster focuses on allowing people to come together through the events during the month of February, as one of the main goals of the tribute is to make the university a safer and more welcoming place to everybody.
“The events are making people move, it’s taking them places,” added Foster.
Both Foster and Nolan believe the arts are a powerful vehicle for students to represent their conflicts, so they’ve chosen to offer writing workshops, poetry slams and more in past years’ tributes, and will keep doing it this year as well.
“People in our community are coming together and thinking ‘that’s also me [who could be struggling],’” Nolan said.
Chaplain and executive director of the Waysmeet Center Reverend Larry Brickner-Wood, who has been supporting this program for about two decades, believes this tribute helps to keep the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. alive after all these years, and helps people find a sense of solidarity.
Brickner-Wood trusts that the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity will do a good job to assure students of the non-existent differences between immigrants and natives, which is one of his biggest concerns since the recent decisions that took place over the first week of Trump’s presidency.
“We are going to need you to stand up, for you. For a better future,” Brickner-Wood said. “We don’t want to leave you a world that is less free of what we had growing up.”
Nolan added that this Black History Month should be thought of as a gathering point to realize what progress we, as a society, have accomplished.
“I think [these events] provide us with an opportunity to pause and think about what we are doing right now,” Nolan said.