How Penn lives the dream


The annual candlelight march and vigil celebrates Martin Luther King’s commitment to peace.

Photo by Tommy Leonardi

“Penn’s Commitment to the Legacy: Achieving Social Justice in Our Time” is the theme for this year’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Symposium, which runs from Jan. 19 through Jan. 30.

In keeping with the spirit of the King holiday, the University will be closed Jan. 19, but the campus community is encouraged to spend “a day on, not a day off” with a series of community service projects. Other symposium events include talks, readings and workshops reflecting on King and his legacy and the annual “Jazz for King” concert.

For up-to-date information on all King Symposium events, visit on the Web. Here are highlights of the next two weeks; additional events will appear in our Jan. 29 issue.

Thursday, Jan. 15

HUP CELEBRATION: Rev. Keith W. Reed, Sr., pastor of Philadelphia’s Sharon Baptist Church, keynotes the Hospital’s Martin Luther King celebration. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Medical Alumni Hall, Maloney Building, HUP, 3400 Spruce St.

Monday, Jan. 19

“STAND UP! SPEAK OUT!” Penn opens its holiday observance with a community breakfast followed by a free musical performance by saxophonist/singer-songwriter SOOZ and remarks by President Judith Rodin CW’66. 8:30 a.m. in Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St.

SCHOOL SPRUCE-UP: Help paint, clean and beautify West Philadelphia High School. Volunteers needing transportation to the site should meet at 37th and Walnut streets at 10 a.m.

BANNER PAINTING: Children of all ages will paint commemorative banners reflecting King’s words and ideas. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in The ARCH auditorium, 3601 Locust Walk.

HELPING HANDS: Help make gifts to be donated to area shelters, nursing homes and other charities. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce St.

LITERACY TRAINING: Learn to become a literacy tutor at this Philadelphia Reads workshop. Bring an updated multicultural children’s book. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Golkin Room, Houston Hall.

DON’T MOURN, ORGANIZE: The School of Social Work presents a teach-in on “Putting Words Into Action: Social Organizing for Change.” 1 to 5 p.m. in the Hall of Flags, Houston Hall.

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL: The evening march for peace and justice concludes with participants reflecting on King’s legacy and remarks by University Chaplain, Rev. William Gipson. March starts at 7 p.m. at DuBois College House, 3900 Walnut St.; the Quad, 37th and Spruce streets, and Hill College House, 3333 Walnut St.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

“SOCIAL JUSTICE THROUGH RELIGION”: Rev. Rodney Rogers of the Center for Community Partnerships and Abby Stamelman Hocky, interim director of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, discuss the Judeo-Christian roots of religious activism. 6 p.m. at the Greenfield Intercultural Center, 3708 Walnut St.

Wednesday, Jan. 21

FROM RESEARCH TO PRACTICE: Van Amerigen Professor in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Loretta Sweet-Jemmott speaks on “Translating HIV Prevention Research Into Practice: Building Partnerships with the Urban Community.” 2 p.m. in the Nursing Education Building auditorium, 420 Guardian Drive.

INTERFAITH PROGRAM: Cheryl Townsend Gilkes of Colby College delivers the keynote address on “Achieving Social Justice in Our Time.” The Shabbatones and the New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir also perform. 7 p.m. in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall.

Thursday, Jan. 22

A NOVEL INTERPRETATION: Associate Professor of English Herman Beavers leads a discussion on “Dreamer,” Charles Johnson’s 1998 novel portraying King as a man torn between his quest for social justice and a life of quiet religious devotion. Noon to 2 p.m. in the Ben Franklin Room, Houston Hall.

A CONVERSATION ON KING: The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Avalon Professor of the Humanities Michael Eric Dyson discuss the life and legacy of Martin Luther King. 5:30 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium, 34th and Spruce streets.

Friday, Jan. 23

OPEN OPPORTUNITIES: The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs hosts an open house. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Suite 228, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut St.

FROM BEHIND BARS: Join the Kelly Writers House community for a reading of King’s famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk.

Monday, Jan. 26

KING’S OTHER LEGACIES: Documentary film excerpts serve as the springboard for discussion of the Poor People’s Campaign, King’s fight for economic justice and his broader struggle for human rights. 6 to 8 p.m. at Civic House, 3914 Locust Walk.

Tuesday, Jan. 27

KING’S RIGHT-HAND MAN: A video screening and panel discussion examine Bayard Rustin, the man who organized the historic 1963 March on Washington. 6 to 8 p.m. at the Greenfield Intercultural Center.

Wednesday, Jan. 28

“COMMUNITY WEAVERS”: Join Vice Provost for University Life Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum for reflections on the women’s community at Penn. Noon to 2 p.m. at the Center for Africana Studies, Suite 331A, 3401 Walnut St.

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Originally published on January 15, 2004