King Day to showcase environmental justice

Professor Julian Agyeman. Photograph by Kelvin Ma, Tufts University.

Julian Agyeman, Ph.D., FRSA, a pioneering environmental justice and sustainability advocate, offers the keynote address during Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances at Bates College at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, in the College Chapel, 275 College St.

His keynote address at Bates is titled The Dream Lives on: Towards a ‘Just’ Sustainability.

Martin Luther King Weekend events at Bates also include a spoken-word piece by performer-activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph on Friday, Jan. 13, an environmental film festival during the weekend, and a performance by the Bates student ensemble Sankofa during the evening of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

See the schedule of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Weekend events.

The theme for 2012 King Day programming at Bates is Environmental Justice: Martin Luther King’s Unfinished Agenda. Events on Jan. 16 include a student debate and workshops that explore the Unfinished Agenda theme during the day, and a performance in the evening by the student ensemble Sankofa. Related events take place Jan. 13-15.

More event information appears below. A complete schedule will be published in January. King Day events at Bates are open to the public at no cost. For more information, please call 207-786-6400.

A college with a bold commitment to equality and social justice rooted in its very founding, prior to the Civil War, Bates has long been distinctive in its observances of the King holiday. Regular classes are canceled and the entire campus turns its attention to issues around civil rights, social justice and King’s legacy.

The 2012 King Day events extend an emphasis on environmental justice at Bates during this academic year. For the King Day programming, “we chose this Unfinished Agenda theme because we believe that Dr. King would have been an advocate for environmental justice,” says Charles Nero, chair of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Planning Committee and professor of rhetoric and African American studies.

“The committee has worked really hard for almost a year to put this program together. We are especially happy that the workshops include much interdisciplinary effort.”

Professor and chair of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University, Agyeman is known as the co-originator with Robert D. Bullard and Bob Evans of “just sustainabilities,” a concept espousing the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, while living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.

More about Julian Agyeman.

Agyeman speaks twice at Bates. In addition to Monday’s keynote, he offers the homily for the college’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Memorial Service of Worship at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, in the Bates College Chapel, 275 College St. To learn more about this service, please call 207-786-8272.

Following the keynote, concurrent breakout sessions take place at 11 a.m. in rooms to be announced in Hedge Hall, 7 Andrews Road (Alumni Walk). Concurrent workshop sessions are scheduled for 2:30 and 3:45 p.m. in Pettengill Hall, 4 Andrews Road.

The breakout sessions and workshops have slightly different formats, Nero explains. “The breakouts provide an opportunity to reflect on the keynote address and to focus on and develop activist strategies based upon it.

“The workshops allow students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to focus on more specific topics related to sustainability and justice.”