MLK Day 2017
Sunday, Jan. 15
2pm | All the Difference
Film and discussion. The largely invisible and often crushing struggles of young African-American men come vividly, and heroically, to life in All the Difference, which traces the paths of two teens from the South Side of Chicago who dared to dream a seemingly impossible dream: to graduate from college. As this intimate film shows, Robert Henderson and Krishaun Branch’s determination started them on the road to success, but it was the support from people in their lives — parents, grandparents, teachers, and mentors — that brought them to their destination. Sponsored in part by the George and Helen Ladd Library. Facilitators: James Reese, Associate Dean for International Student Programs; Rachel Chappell ’18.
4pm | Sankofa: Testimonies of Melanin Magic
Open rehearsal. A Bates student organization that explores the history and experiences of the African diaspora through performance offers an open rehearsal of the piece it will perform the evening of MLK Day. Director, Britiny Lee ’19; student adviser, Rakiya Mohamed ’18. Free, but tickets required: please visit bit.ly/mlk-sanfofa17-dress.
7–8pm | The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Service
Spiritual gathering. The Rev. Dr. Charles Howard offers the message at this annual service celebrating spiritual dimensions of peace and justice work through music, prayer, art, and word. Howard is the University Chaplain and Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Pennsylvania, and has written for such publications as Black Arts Quarterly, Black Theology: An International Journal, Sojourners Magazine, and Huffington Post. The service includes moments for meditative reflection as well as jazz, gospel, and multifaith music by Bates community members.
Peter J. Gomes Chapel
Monday, January 16
Discussion. An introduction to reparations and the conditions that give rise to the need for them. Led by Michael Rocque, Assistant Professor of Sociology, and Susan Stark, Associate Professor of Philosophy.
Peter J. Gomes Chapel
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Keynote
Peter J. Gomes Chapel | The event will be livestreamed at bates.edu/mlk/live
Akira Townes ’17
Matthew R. Auer, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty
A. Clayton Spencer, President of Bates College
Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Yannick Marshall, Visiting Instructor in African American Studies
Keynote Address: No Reparations Without Racial Education: Martin Luther King on the Tyranny of Ignorance
Khalil Gibran Muhammad, educator and author
A much-overlooked part of Dr. King’s legacy was his deep reflection on the relationship of history to justice. In order to make America a “better nation,” he insisted that America must first become a smarter nation. We must confront and learn from our racial past.
Muhammad is Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. His research focuses on racial criminalization in modern U.S. history. He is the former director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the world’s leading library and archive of global black history. He is the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard University Press, 2010), and his work has appeared in such national print and broadcast outlets as The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, NPR, and MSNBC.
Session I Workshops: Race, Culture, and Justice
A Cultural Debt: Black Music, Intellectual Property, and Cultural Appropriation
Workshop: A look at the legacy of white appropriation of black cultural production in the U.S., focusing on music. Hip hop culture, with its reliance upon sampling, turntablism, and the repurposing and recycling of existing musical materials, has been subject to a discourse of cultural theft in the public imagination. Recent legal rulings that govern sampling are inflexible when it comes to the transformative use by contemporary artists in R&B, hip hop, and EDM of earlier sound recordings. At the same time, the music industry’s recent preoccupation with intellectual property theft in hip hop must be seen in relation to the long history of unremunerated, unrecognized, and uncredited intellectual property produced by African American musicians in jazz, blues, soul, funk, and R&B. This workshop examines the relationship between the cultural debt owed to artists of color on the one hand and, on the other, the broader issue of financial reparations as a remedy for social injustice. Led by Dale Chapman, Associate Professor of Music.
Activities Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for Children and Their Caregivers
Workshop. We invite caregivers and children to the first floor of Ladd Library to read books and create art honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Library is home to The Picture Book Project: A Bates College Collection Portraying People of Color. The project was founded by Krista Aronson, Associate Professor of psychology, in collaboration with children’s book creator Anne Sibley O’Brien and Brenna Callahan ’15. Kept on the first floor to the right of the entrance, these books belong to the permanent collection and are available to people at Bates and beyond for personal use, research, and education. Though the books in the Picture Book Project remain in the library, the art projects created today may be taken home. Led by Susan Stark, Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Krista Maywalt Aronson, Associate Professor of Psychology.
Addressing the Earliest Educational Injustices: How Unconscious Bias Feeds the Preschool-to-Prison Pipeline
Workshop. Recent studies identify a direct link between implicit racial bias and preschool suspensions and expulsions. This workshop, first, will discuss implicit bias both generally and in the context of preschool teachers and administrators. Next, we’ll examine how the earliest injustices set children on a course to prison and disenfranchisement. The last segment will engage participants in a broad discussion of potential solutions, drawing from programs initiated by colleges and universities. Led by Christopher Northrop, Clinical Professor at the University of Maine School of Law; Caroline Wilshusen, Associate Dean for Admissions at the law school; and De’Anna Mills, Juris Doctor candidate at the law school.
Maine-Wabanaki REACH: Writing a Different History for Our Future
Esther Attean and Penthea Burns co-direct Maine-Wabanaki REACH (Reconciliation-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing), dedicated to advancing Wabanaki self-determination by strengthening the cultural, spiritual, and physical well-being of Native people in Maine. The organization seeks to build a broader and stronger community of non-Native people who understand the long-term impact of historical harms done to indigenous people since first contact; centuries of government policies intended to eliminate “the Indian problem”; and contemporary systems that provide advantages to the dominant culture. Attean and Burns will discuss REACH’s engagement with institutions of higher education and faith communities that desire to be partners and allies in the work of decolonization and standing for Wabanaki sovereignty. When people more deeply understand what happened, they wish to be a part of writing a different history. Organized by Joe Hall, Associate Professor of History, and Leslie Hill, Associate Professor of Politics.
Policing in the South and Communities of Color: The Need to Repair a Legacy of Harm
Presentation. Policing in the South, especially in areas such as Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, developed as a means to control slaves and people of color prior to the Civil War. For decades after emancipation, police were used to continue to control populations of color through Jim Crow and related laws. This legacy of policing and controlling communities of color has had a lasting negative impact on police-community relations. Action to repair this harm cannot wait and must begin by acknowledging and actively seeking to restore justice through collective action. Led by Chad Posick, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia Southern University.
The Role Implicit Bias Plays in Advancing Racial Equity
Presentation. Implicit bias refers to attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. We are constantly being exposed to different people, experiences, images, media, and stories. Our brains naturally form associations and group familiar stimuli together in processing other stimuli. Even if we don’t consciously choose one race over the other, our brain can still pick up on that association. This dynamic can create barriers for us as a society as we advance towards racial equity. This panel will provide an understanding of implicit bias and discuss barriers created by a natural human process. Led by Jerome Bennett ’10, Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinator, Maine Department of Corrections.
How Nontraditional Education Helps Repair the Harms of America’s Racial Inequality as a Component of the Mass Incarceration Crisis
Presentation. The College Guild is the nation’s only provider of free, nontraditional correspondence courses available to all prisoners regardless of race, gender, sentencing, or prior education. This presentation examines the current state and background of mass incarceration and the hopeful future ahead. Student artwork, poetry, and testimonials will be available. A brief discussion with a College Guild volunteer reader and a Q&A are also part of the program. Led by Pat Friedman, Administrator, the College Guild.
12:30–1pm | Lunch
Special price of $6.
12:30–1:15pm | Book Discussion
A discussion for those who have read Craig Steven Wilder’s Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (Bloomsbury Press, 2013). Led by the MLK Jr. Day Planning Committee.
1–1:45pm | Bates Voices: Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
Reading. Bates faculty, staff, and students honor King’s work by sharing short original writings addressing his legacy, and excerpted texts that have inspired the readers.
Commons Fireplace Lounge
Session II Workshops: Race, Privilege, and Expression
Comfort Women’/Military Sex Slaves/Halmoni: Reparations, Responsibility, and RepresentationTHIS WORKSHOP IS CANCELLED
Presentation. This session will expand the scope of the day’s focus on reparations, race, and slavery to consider the plight of “comfort women” — women coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. This issue has gained international attention in the last 25 years, culminating in a demand that reparations be provided by the Japanese government, which in recent years has agreed to pay millions of dollars to survivors. Since 1991, when Kim Hak-soon publicly testified that she had been forced by the Japanese military to be a “comfort woman” — contradicting Japanese government assertions that such women were prostitutes who voluntarily serviced soldiers during the war — emerging evidence has confirmed that more than 100,000 women from across Asia (most of them Korean) were forced into sexual service by the Japanese military. This presentation focuses on ethical issues raised by these figures, suggesting that the tripartite nomenclature of “comfort woman”/military sex slaves/halmoni can alert us to how contested vocabularies make visible shifting notions of ethical accountability. The speaker will point out how such terms encourage us to consider ways in which identification — of artist with character, critic with victim, student with subaltern subject — might be suspect or problematic in efforts to create ethical work and to teach ethically. Led by Tina Chen, Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies, Pennsylvania State University.
The Peace Process in Colombia: Displaced Population, Violence, and Resistance
Presentation. Students from INDS 321, “Afroambiente: Black Writing and the Environment in Latin America,” present their findings and lead a discussion on the peace process in Colombia; the crisis of the displaced population there — more than six million people, mostly of African descent; the violence of 50 years of civil war; and the impasse after a referendum failed to approve the peace agreement between the government and the guerrilla organization FARC. Presenters: Lucia Brown ’19, Madison Ekey ’17, Christopher Ellis ’17, Erin Hazlett-Norman ’19, Gideon Ikpekaogu ’17, Marisol Hernández ’19, Carolyn O’Reilly ’18, Aria Sanders ’18. Led by Baltasar Fra-Molinero, Professor of Latin American Studies.
Reparation Owed: A Conversation on Bates’ Institutional Amends
Workshop. A session addressing reparations in the context of white denial and white privilege, and how those two things affect other demographics. We will show clips of Tim Wise’s work on the subject, and facilitate small-group discussions that return the topic to the Bates context. We aim to create a safe space for hosting an open dialogue addressing the guilt and fear surrounding this topic. We hope that this will be a place for people to begin thinking of solutions that will propel us towards solidarity on this campus. Led by Akira Townes ’17; Justin Moriarty, Assistant Technical Director of Theater; and James Reese, Associate Dean for International Student Programs.
‘Wada-yaal’: Peace and Reconciliation Through Traditional Somali Music and Poetry
Presentation. The Somali term “Wada-yaal” roughly translates as “co-existence” and the process required to achieve this. Hadith Bani-Adam was required to flee his native Somalia, and then Kenya, because of his peace activism in his community. He is a singer-songwriter in traditional Somali style, accompanying himself on the oud. He will perform and discuss his songs, which deal with the tensions within Somalia and its African neighbors, the plight of refugees, and relational and spiritual dimensions of life in the conditions Somalis (and the rest of humanity!) face. Attendees will be encouraged to listen, voice their reactions to the music, and raise questions pertaining to history, circumstance, and spiritual practice in response to our situation, as elicited by the music. Hadith will be accompanied by fiddler Greg Boardman and percussionist Ness Smith-Savedoff. Facilitated by Greg Boardman.
Fighting for Civil Rights and Racial Justice in the Courtroom
Presentation. There are myriad ways to fight for civil rights and racial justice. The presenters of this session chose to fight inside (and sometimes outside) the courtroom. It has been their honor to represent hundreds of criminal defendants and civil litigants fighting for equality, dignity, and fairness. They will share experiences, discuss the merits and limitations of litigation as a means to effect social change, and answer participants’ questions about using the law to advance causes that are important to them personally. Led by Jamesa Drake, Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union.
Discussing Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘The Case for Reparations’
Workshop. Here students and faculty examine and lead the audience in a discussion of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article on reparations published in The Atlantic Magazine in 2014. This workshop will be an interactive, participatory discussion: We encourage participants to read the article before the session, but all are welcome whether or not they have read the piece. The article is available online. Led by Darrius Campbell ’17, Marquise Clarke ’19, Ben Coulibaly ’17, Justice Geddes ’20, Kayla Jackson ’19, Randy Peralta ’18; and Leslie Hill, Associate Professor of Politics, and Susan Stark, Associate Professor of Philosophy.
Rethinking Reparations: Bending The Arc Of Athletics Towards Justice
Workshop. An examination of the exploitation of athletes of color by their institutions and the NCAA, and attempts at reparation (e.g., basketball player Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA seeking compensation for commercial use of his image). Moderator: Christopher Petrella. Participants: Adedir
Bates College Built by Slaves
Workshop. In this session, we’ll examine Bates’ radical past and Freewill Baptist origins, and contextualize the college within the institution of slavery. We will ask what is required to make reparation for this history. Led by Allen Kendunga ’18 and Andrew Segal ’17.
3:45–5pm | The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, Class of 1920, Debate
This ever-popular debate between Morehouse and Bates students honors Dr. Mays, a Bates debater, longtime president of Morehouse College, pioneer of the civil rights movement, and primary mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s motion: “This house believes the state should exclusively focus on rectifying current inequalities to the exclusion of compensating for historical injustices.” Free, but tickets required; please visit bit.ly/mlk-debate-17 or call 207-786-6400.
Olin Concert Hall | Watch the livestream at bates.edu/mlk/live
Come Together on the Dance Floor: A Hip Hop Dance Workshop
Dance workshop. Nationally recognized hip hop and African dance teacher Shakia Johnson addresses the historical roots of hip hop and builds community through dance. Led by Rachel Boggia, Associate Professor of Dance.
7:30pm | The Evening Program
Sankofa presents Testimonies of Melanin Magic
Performance. Founded by Bates students in 2010, Sankofa explores the history and diverse experiences of the African diaspora through dance, music, theater, spoken word, and other forms of art and expression. Sankofa’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day production has become a symbol of pride and accomplishment for the African diaspora at Bates, and an educational and diversifying experience for the entire Bates community. This year Sankofa explores black voice nationally and internationally in events linked by the theme of activism. Free, but tickets required: please visit bit.ly/mlk-sankofa17-evening or call 207-786-8294 or 207-786-6400.
Tuesday, Jan. 17
1:30–2:30pm | The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Read-In
Bates College staff and students volunteer to share books and read with a fourth-, fifth- or sixth-grader at Martel School. Books will be given to the classrooms to keep. Transportation available departing the Harward Center for Martel School at 1:10pm and returning to campus by 2:40pm. FMI Ellen Alcorn at 207-786-8235 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Snow date: Wednesday, Jan. 18.