“Civility, Diversity and Accountability” Highlight Rockhurst’s 2015 MLK Day ObservanceJanuary 12, 2015

Rockhurst University celebrated the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 19 with a day of events.

Anita Maltbia, a longtime community leader and former executive director of the Green impact Zone of Missouri, opened the celebration with a presentation that touched on the importance of community service, among other topics.

"Service is the rent we pay for being," she said, quoting activist Marian Wright Edelman.

In the afternoon, more than 100 students, community members and faculty and staff took part in service projects both on campus and in the community, making blankets for foster children, cleaning up Brush Creek, helping neighbors with laundry at a nearby laundromat, baking cookies for local shelters and creating greeting cards for patients at local hospitals.

A panel discussion on “civility, diversity and accountability” on campus capped the day's events. Hosted by the Rockhurst University Black Student Union and the RU Diversity Committee, the panel included Airick Leonard West, a community leader and activist; Bill Evans, director of security for Rockhurst University; Sonny Gibson, an historian of Kansas City’s African-American community; and LaKresha Graham, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication at Rockhurst. The panelists discussed issues surrounding resepectful discourse in an age of often anonymous communication.

"I feel we have all allowed the discussion to continue to take place on campus and are helping to work toward a comfortable environment for everyone at Rockhurst," Kelsey Burrus, vice president of the Black Student Union, said of the forum. "The service portion was also great. Giving back to the community is a way to show those in the community that you are present and in supportive."


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