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Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Focuses on Combating Hate Jan. 21-Feb. 10, 2011

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
December 8, 2010

It has been more than four and a half decades since Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington. King presented a vision of an America that lives up to its ideals of liberty and justice for all. However, the startling rise of hate crimes and extremism in recent years makes it clear that victory over prejudices and racial hostility remains elusive.

According to FBI statistics gathered for its Uniform Crime Reporting Program, hate crimes against LGBTQ, Latino, Latina, African American, Asian American, Arab American, Muslim, and Jewish people have risen steadily for the last four years. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a center that monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States, lists the number of hate groups at a record level of 1,000. The number of militia groups jumped 244% in 2009 alone.

For its 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, UNH will examine some of the reasons behind this rise in hate acts, including racism, the recession, anti-immigration sentiments, the political environment, homophobia, and religious intolerance. For a complete schedule go to http://unh.edu/diversity/mlk/. All events are free and open to the public.

Photo Project: The Human Face of Hate Crimes: A Retrospective
Thursday, January 27, 2011, 5 p.m., MUB Strafford Room

UNH students from various backgrounds will present their research in photos to document a timeline of oppression in the United States. These images will reveal periods of American history when “justice for all” applied to only a few, and they will demonstrate how our nation, including those being oppressed, responded to hate. At the unveiling, the students will host a dialogue centered on the 2010 Princeton Review ranking of UNH as third among American colleges with the lowest number of interactions among students of different races.

Spiritual Celebration: Grounded in Hope: Empowered to Love, Inspired to Act
Sunday, January 30, 2011, 4 p.m., The Community Church of Durham

An interfaith and spirited celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in song, readings, prayer, reflection, and community. The Rev. Dr. Kirk Byron Jones will be the featured speaker. Dr. Jones has been a pastor for over 20 years and is an adjunct professor of ethics and preaching at Andover Newton Theological School and Boston University School of Theology. He is the author of seven books, including his latest, Say Yes to Grace: How to Burn Bright Without Burning Out, released in the fall of 2010. For more information, call 862-1165 or email Larry.Brickner-wood@unh.edu.

Conversation: Unlearning Hate: Turning Corrosive Powers into Positive Action
with Morris Dees and Tom Martinez

Thursday, February 3, 2011, 2-4 p.m., MUB Strafford Room

Join us for an interactive conversation between Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center and Tom Martinez, a former white supremacist group member. The stories of Dees and Martinez explore how prejudice and hate are learned and how we all can unlearn them. Through these personal experiences, we will also explore and illuminate the systemic forces of hate, including economic and political factors. Come listen to these powerful stories of transformation and offer your own strategies and insights about combating hate within our community. Moderated by former president of the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association Katherine Brown and introduced by sociology and justice studies student Chaquanzah Stephenson. 

Commemorative Address: With Justice for All
Thursday, February 3, 2011, 7-8:30 p.m., Johnson Theater

Activist, Civil Rights speaker, and one of the founders of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees discusses how our commitment to justice for all will chart our nation’s future as America becomes more diverse and economic disparity widens. Dees will address the historical and current social, cultural, political, and economic circumstances that have given rise to increasing participation in hate groups, increasing numbers of hate crimes, and the fostering of intolerance and hate in the current political climate and daily discourse. He will also focus on the active recruitment of young people into a wide variety of sophisticated hate groups and the long-term implications, as well as the need for teaching deeper understanding, love, and respect for one another. Kenlyne Exume, a UNH student in her senior year, will be the host. Performers will include the UNH spoken word group “Owr Wirdz” and the UNH Department of Theatre and Dance troupe performing “Seasons of Love” from their recent production of the hit musical Rent.

Open Dialogue: Putting Belief into Action
Thursday, February 10, 2010, 12:30-2 p.m., MUB Strafford Room

How do specific religious and spiritual communities challenge unethical behavior and summon us to a loving concern for the welfare of all? What are our White religious and spiritual communities doing to recognize their privilege? How do religious and spiritual communities avoid participating in racism, heterosexism, disregard for the wellbeing of the Earth, and habits/systems of division among themselves? Join us for a panel presentation of brief introductory words offering diverse perspectives on how people put spiritual beliefs into action against oppression. An open dialogue will follow. For more information call 862-1058 or e-mail sfoster@cisunix.unh.edu. Feel free to bring your lunch. Light refreshments will be provided.


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