Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

January 20, 2009

Goshen College honors King's legacy

It was a day for dreams both old and new at Goshen College. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the school hosted a flurry of activities both contemplative and exuberant.

“Dream along with me, and dream along with him, and don’t wake up until completed is our mission,” GC student James Green shouted in a piece of his dramatically performed poetry during a spoken word coffee house early in the day.

A prayer breakfast, “Walking in the Legacy of ‘The Dream’” program, and “Living ‘The Dream:’ Avenues of Action” fellowship period, along with the spoken word event, gave attendees a chance to meditate on the lessons of King and local civil rights issues. Key among participating guests were two local families.

Adam and Maggie Williams, of Elkhart woke to a burning cross in their front yard in May of last year. At the college, they spoke of their experiences. According to Adam, who was born and raised in Shelby, Miss., he never experienced racism until he moved to Indiana. Between his birthplace and his experiences, he feels a kinship with the civil rights leader.

“Martin Luther King Jr. is my mentor,” he said. “Growing up in Mississippi, he is a role model.”

The confluence of the holiday and the inauguration of the country’s first black president only serves to increase his excitement.

“Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Tomorrow, with the first black president, it means the world to me,” Williams said.

Stacie Meyers-Ray of Osceola attended and participated with her family, speaking about her battle against an Osceola white supremacist compound. During a group presentation with the Williamses, her young son referred to Ku Klux Klan members as “monsters in white hoods shouting hatred in the night.”

While the two families spoke, images were projected from KKK rallies in Elkhart, Goshen, Three Rivers and South Bend, as well as the Osceola compound and the cross burned in Williams’ yard. By the end of their statements, pictures of cultural awareness events and diversity celebrations graced the screens.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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