A trip to President Barack Obama's second inauguration and a visit to the new memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King will serve as the cornerstone of nearly a week of activities observing and celebrating Dr. King's birthday at Hiram College.
More than 50 Hiram students will board a bus for Washington D.C. in the wee hours of Monday, arriving in time to participate in the inauguration ceremonies on the National Mall, followed by a visit to the King memorial. They will return to Hiram late the same day.
"We have a very engaged and committed student body, and we had no trouble filling a bus for this trip," said Detra West, Hiram's associate dean and director of ethnic diversity affairs. "It is great that the inauguration and Dr. King's holiday fall on the same day this year and will enable us to experience history, past and present, first hand."
While there are no classes Monday, th King holiday, but several events are planned from Jan. 22 to 24 to honor the civil rights leader.
On Jan. 22, Hiram will host a convocation and panel discussion on the state of race relations in America in the 21st century from noon until 1:30 pm in the Kennedy Center Ballroom.
Between Tuesday and Thursday, students, faculty, staff and administrators will also have the opportunity to participate in symbolic silent sit-ins for social justice and equality modeled after the effective lunch counter sit-ins staged by Dr. King and others during the 1960's. Participants who sign up will be seated around the Welcome Center for 30 minutes. The goal is to have seats filled at all times from Tuesday through Thursday.
The celebration will conclude Thursday with a candlelight vigil from 4 to 4:30 p.m. The vigil will provide moments of reflection and fellowship and symbolize unity, hope and inclusion.