Presentation of Unsung Hero and Heroine Awards, keynote address by Cornel West will highlight Syracuse University’s 16th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Presentation of Unsung Hero and Heroine Awards, keynote address by Cornel West will highlight Syracuse University’s 16th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. CelebrationJanuary 12, 2001Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Some 150 members of choir ensembles from Syracuse University and churches of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance will lift their voices during the 16th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration,”Lift Ev’ry Voice: A Call to Courage, Hope, Struggle,” Jan. 20 in the Carrier Dome.
The annual event is expected to draw more than 2,000 people for an evening that will feature traditional African American cuisine; a multimedia program of music, dance and dramatic presentations; and a keynote address by Cornel West, University Professor of Afro American Studies and Philosophy of Religion at Harvard University.
Tickets for the dinner, which begins at 5:30 p.m., are sold out. The program, which begins at 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. Seating is available in the Dome stands for those who want to attend the program and hear West’s address.
“We have been anticipating Dr. West’s visit for a long time,” says the Rev. Thomas V. Wolfe, dean of Hendricks Chapel. “We are grateful that this is a regional celebration where the SU and greater Syracuse communities come together to be reminded of the possibilities of Dr. King’s legacy for our own time. It is our goal that the event embody Dr. King’s ideals and that it inspires each of us to renew and reclaim the dream where we work and live.”
In addition to the evening festivities, West will present a keynote address earlier in the day during a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Hopps Memorial C.M.E. Church, 1110 S. State St., presented by the Syracuse Region Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. The event, “Breaking Down the Barriers,” begins at 11:30 a.m. and is free and open to the public. West will also present a seminar that is open to all SU students, faculty and staff at 3 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium.
West’s keynote address at the Carrier Dome will be preceded by a program designed to chronicle a century of human courage, hope and struggle in the face of a society torn apart by racism, violence and man’s inhumanity to man. The program will also celebrate the music and poetry of James Weldon Johnson, who inspired King and whom he frequently referenced in his writings and speeches throughout the Civil Rights Movement. Kyle Johnson, a senior electronic media production major in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, will play the role of James Weldon Johnson.
The program will feature performances by the Black Celestial Choral Ensemble of Hendricks Chapel and the mass choir under the direction of G. Burton Harbison, SU director of choral activities and associate professor of voice.
The celebration will also include the presentation of the annual Unsung Hero and Heroine Awards. The awards are presented to people from SU and the greater Syracuse community who exemplify the spirit, life and teachings of King but who are not widely recognized for their efforts.
This year, awards will be presented to Inez Mack, volunteer director of the Hopps Memorial C.M.E. Outreach Program; Larry Williams, conflict mediation and resolution specialist at Liverpool High School; Aaron Kingson, a senior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School; Shenea Hunt, a junior information management and technology major in SU’s School of Information Studies; and Adrea Jaehnig, associate director of SU’s Office of Residence Life.
A scholar, theologian and activist, West is one of America’s leading public intellectuals working to create an alternative vision of ethnic and race relations for America. He is the author or editor of 15 books, including “Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America” (Beacon Press, 1999), “The Cornel West Reader” (Basic Dutton/Plume, 1999) and “The Future of Race” (Vintage Books, 1996).
His critically acclaimed book, “Race Matters” (Beacon Press, 1993), achieved best-seller status in both the hardcover and paperback editions. Critics hailed the book for bridging the gulf between black and white America with enormous resonance and moral authority, within which West tackles questions of politics, economics, ethics and spirituality, and addresses the crisis in black leadership.