Students Organize Event in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Willamette Academy students celebrated Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s work toward the advancement of civil rights by organizing an event for the Salem-Keizer community entitled, "Education: Have we realized the dream?" on January 26th, at the Salem Public Library. The successful event, which was well attended by Willamette students and community members, was a part of Willamette University's 2011 MLK Celebration. It included a timeline of important historical events in education, a dramatization of a Salem-Keizer school board meeting, and a panel of community leaders. The Academy student planning committee aimed to inform the community about the current state of equity in public education and create a discussion about ways to improve outcomes for groups who are historically underrepresented in higher education. The panel of speakers was comprised of Eduardo Angulo, the Executive Director of Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality, Dr. Jean Moule, Professor Emerita at Oregon State University College of Education, and Benny Williams, the President of the Salem Chapter of NAACP, each bringing a unique perspective on the subject. Through this event, Willamette Academy students were able to inform community members about the deficiencies in the educational system and inspire them to get involved.

Several art projects were also displayed during the event as part of a contest to commemorate Dr. King's work. Students across the Salem-Keizer school district were invited to submit their own artistic interpretation of the "I Have a Dream" speech. Two students were selected by leaders on the Willamette University's MLK Committee to receive family passes to the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, which were donated by the organization. The first place winner was also awarded a book about MLK's perspective on education.