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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

MLK Jr. inspires weeklong events

A screening of a documentary and a quiz bowl are two of the activities.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech has been inspiring the world since 1963. This week, black student leaders hope King’s words will continue to reverberate across the University campus.

In honor of King, the Black Student Union and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will host three public events throughout the week.

Abdul Omari, president of Alpha Phi Alpha, said the events will inform and inspire the campus.

where to go

King: The final days
what: Come hear this presentation and participate in discussion. Food will be served.
when: 6 to 7:30 p.m., today
where: Room 209, Coffman Union
King of Knowledge Game Show
WHAT: With hosts Abdul Omari and Wilfred Zehourou
WHEN: 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23
WHERE: The Whole Music Club, Coffman Union
TO SIGN UP: [email protected] 2008 and still dreaming
WHAT: Special guests Dr. Rose Brewster, student leaders from various organizations and schools. There will be a leadership discussion with a showing of the “Boondocks” MLK episode and his views on the state of blacks today and an open discussion on where we are today. Food will be served.
WHEN: 6 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24
WHERE: President’s Room, Coffman Union

“It’s an educational week. It’s a fun week. There are many things out there that people know and forget about Martin Luther King or they never knew,” Omari said. “It’ll be a refresher and an eye-opener.”

A lecture and documentary, titled “King: The Final Days,” will kick off the week. Rose Brewer, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, will present it on Tuesday.

Wilfried Zehourou, president of the Black Student Union, said the presentation will illustrate the political and social climate during the time surrounding King’s assassination.

“A lot of times students look at history and it’s the furthest thing from fun,” he said. “They see a bunch of dry facts and we want to bring its purpose back to life.”

A quiz bowl tournament on Wednesday, “King of Knowledge,” will be the second event. Zehourou said the audience and four teams will test their knowledge of civil rights trivia and receive prizes.

“It’s kind of a way to get students to interact with each other and a way to get the audience to help out and participate,” he said.

“2008 and Still Dreaming,” a panel discussion scheduled for Thursday, will bring students together from the University of St. Thomas, Macalester College, Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota campuses to discuss progress that can still be made toward King’s dream.

“We’ve come really far from the 1950s, ’60s and ’40s, but we still have a ways to go,” Zehourou said. “It’s kind of making a recommitment to really honoring that dream and following through with that vision.”

All the events will be held in Coffman Union, begin at 6 p.m. and will offer free food.

Omari said this is the first year these events will take place.

“It’s very exciting and encouraging to be starting something like this,” he said.

Zehourou said in the past, there has been worry about attendance because it will be held during the first week of school. But, he said, Facebook, along with other more conventional means, has made inviting people easier.

Jon Delperdang, a political science sophomore, said he received an online invitation and plans to attend the events on Tuesday and Thursday. Delperdang said he became interested in King after taking a class on social movements.

He said he thinks this generation of University students is open-minded and tolerant of others, but there is still progress to be made.

“There’s still pockets of people who don’t like change or aren’t open to new ideas,” he said.

Zehourou said he hopes the event will create a base the groups can build upon. He said the Black Student Union wants to improve the event each year.

Even though it is the first year of the event, Zehourou and Omari said they have high expectations.

Omari said he hopes the influence King’s memory has on others can be as powerful as the impact he has felt.

“The impact he’s had on the world is truly inspirational for my day-to-day activities and what I do in the community,” he said.

Zehourou said he is hoping for a large and diverse crowd that crosses social, political and cultural boundaries for each event.

“When I think about it, this event is not for the Black Student Union or for one organization. It’s for the whole campus,” he said. “I’m just looking for people to interact and that’s really, truly where the joy comes from.”

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