Davis & Elkins College will celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a march throughout downtown Elkins, the signing of a proclamation at Elkins City Hall and a special program on campus. Events are open to the public and will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 17 to allow student participation for those who are just returning for the spring semester.
“A visionary and faith-filled leader, Dr. King’s message and challenge remains as relevant today as it did 65 years ago,” D&E President Chris A. Wood said. “As D&E students come to a fuller understanding of Dr. King’s dream, they are being challenged to take up the mantle of creating the Beloved Community that Dr. King preached. We invite the residents of Elkins to join us for the day’s activities promoting justice, equality and unity in our community and nation.”
The march steps off at 11 a.m. from the Gatehouse at the entrance to campus on Sycamore Street. The group will travel to Elkins City Hall where City Clerk Jessica Sutton will read the proclamation designating the week of Jan. 15 as M.L.K. Jr. Week of Service. The proclamation also commemorates the 37th anniversary of the holiday recognizing one of America’s greatest visionary leaders and celebrating King’s life and legacy. The proclamation states that as King’s “I Have A Dream Speech” turns 60 this year, it reminds us to recognize “that in these challenging times, too many Americans face limited opportunities, but our capacity to support each other remains limitless; and we must face the challenges with the same strength, persistence and determination exhibited by Dr. King.”
The march will make its way back to campus with stops along the way to reflect on four topics: “Empower the Powerless,” “Find Opportunity in Every Situation,” “Enlist the Best Allies, Even if You’re Not Best Friends” and “Pursue the Impossible.”
Once back on campus, the group will assemble in Myles Center for the Arts at approximately 11:30 a.m. where Dr. Julius Bailey, a professor of philosophy at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, will present a talk focusing how love can overcome fear.
At Wittenberg University, Bailey also serves as chairperson of the Philosophy and Religion Department and director of Pre-Law and Justice, Law and Public Policy. A social theorist and diversity lecturer, Bailey has been a guest on numerous media outlets, and is often sought to speak at colleges, prisons, churches and for community organizations across America. He currently hosts an online radio show, “Straight no Chaser with Dr. Julius Bailey,” through which he provides insight and guidance on social change.
He has authored five books, including the award-winning “Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams: The Age of Obama and Beyond” and edited two others, notably the widely circulated “The Cultural Impact of Kanye West” and “Philosophy and Hip Hop.” His current book, “Racism, Hypocrisy and Bad Faith: A Moral Challenge to the America I Love,” was released in February of 2020.
The events at D&E in recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday are sponsored by the President’s Initiative on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion which was launched in 2020 with a pledge to listen, learn and act intentionally to uphold the D&E institutional values and mission of “thoughtful engagement in the world,” “act(ing) responsibly as citizens of multiple communities,” and valuing “human dignity and social responsibility.” Stressing an openness and mutual respect for all within the D&E community, the initiative included multiple sessions of professional development, student workshops and public programming.
In addition to the events presented by D&E, locally Woodford Memorial Methodist Church will celebrate with a Martin Luther King worship service on Sunday, Jan. 15 and the Tygart Valley United Way will facilitate community service projects during the week of Jan. 16-20 acknowledging this year’s theme of “Together We Can Be the Dream.”