AfriCaribe performance group and African-American theologian to highlight Goshen College’s 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day

AfriCaribe, a group dedicated to the preservation, research, promotion and development of the Puerto Rican and Caribbean cultures through music, dance, theater and other artistic media.
GOSHEN, Ind. – Goshen College will honor the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. during its 15thannual all-school Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day, emphasizing the values and ideals that characterized the civil rights leader’s work, on Monday, Jan. 21. The college has again cancelled all classes during the day, and all these events are open to the public.The day will include a Community Prayer Breakfast, a time of campus members sharing poetry and recitations related to King’s work, performances by guest performers AfriCaribe, the college’s Voices-n-Harmony Gospel Choir, a presentation by African-American theologian Dwight N. Hopkins and discussion about the issues raised during the day. On Sunday, Jan. 20, the day prior, there will also be the opening of the “African Arts” exhibit and a workshop by AfriCaribe.

AfriCaribe is a performance ensemble that utilizes dance, music, theatre and other artistic mediums to celebrate cultural traditions. Created in 2000 by Evaristo “Tito” Rodriguez, AfriCaribe is a Chicago-based organization that celebrates the African influence in Puerto Rico and other countries of the Caribbean. The organization includes an academy, a performance ensemble, a production company and an education department.

In addition, Dwight Hopkins, professor of theology at the University of Chicago, Divinity School, will be a featured guest on Jan. 21. He has long been an advocate for integrating the intellectual study of black theology into the curricula of schools that teach religion. He is a constructive theologian working in the areas of contemporary models of theology, black theology and liberation theology. He is interested in multidisciplinary approaches to the academic study of religious thought, especially cultural, political, economic and interpretive methods. Hopkins received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a master’s of divinity degree, master’s of philosophy degree and doctorate from Union Theological Seminary in New York. His latest books include “Being Human: Race, Culture, and Religion”; “Walk Together Children: black and womanist theologies, church and theological education”; and “Another World Is Possible: Spiritualities and Religions of Global Darker Peoples.”

Odelet Nance, director of Goshen College’s Multicultural Affairs Office, said, “Goshen College’s MLK Day is a time for reflection on the legacy of Dr. King and his dream. MLK Day encourages us to examine our commitment to social justice on our campus, our community and our world. As the demographics of our country are rapidly changing, we must strategically work in unity to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

The 2008 Goshen College Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day schedule:

Sunday, Jan. 20
2-4 p.m., Exhibit reception: African Arts, The Library Gallery
Traditional instruments, artifacts and fabrics from Professor Emerita of Music Mary K. Oyer’s collection, along with annotations and stories gathered during Oyer’s long and dynamic career as teacher, hymnologist, church musician and African music specialist. The exhibit is sponsored by the Art Department, Multicultural Affairs Office, Music Center, Music Department and Harold and Wilma Good Library. The exhibit is up through Feb. 22.

5:30 p.m., AfriCaribe Workshop, Newcomer Center Room 19
Lecture/demonstration of “Bomba: Afro-Puerto Rican Music.” AfriCaribe is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, research, promotion and development of the Puerto Rican and Caribbean cultures through music, dance, theater and other artistic media. Limited number of participants; make reservations at the Welcome Center: (574) 535-7566 by Thursday, Jan. 17.

Monday, Jan. 21
7:30 a.m. – Community Prayer Breakfast, Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall; sponsored by Goshen College and Goshen Chamber of Commerce. Registration begins at 7:15 a.m. Cost $15. Open to those who made reservations by Jan. 14.
– Performance – AfriCaribe, “Music and dance as a way for self-identity, empowerment and liberation”

– Music – Goshen College Voices-n-Harmony Gospel Choir

– Prayer – Elkhart County pastors

9-9:50 a.m. – Spoken Word, Church-Chapel Koinonia Room
This will feature students and faculty in a program of recitations from King’s speeches, poetry reading and storytelling.

9:50 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Study Day Convocation
– 9:50-10:35 a.m. – Voices-n-Harmony Gospel Choir and AfriCaribe. Church-Chapel

– 10:35-11:15 a.m. – “Martin Luther King and the Future of Multicultural America” by Dwight N. Hopkins, professor of theology at the University of Chicago, Divinity School. Church-Chapel

– 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Question and answer with Dwight N. Hopkins, Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall

Other events in the coming months at Goshen College related to King’s vision:

Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. in the Church-Chapel
Convocation: “Courageous Conversations about Race” by Glenn Singleton
Singleton is a national expert who helps educators become aware of institutional racism and create effective strategies for closing the achievement gap between races in K-12 schools.

Friday, Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. in the Church-Chapel
Chapel: “Hymns Across Cultures” led by Goshen College Professor Emerita of Music Mary Oyer
The music of a hymn grows out of a specific time and place and speaks best for those people who created and use it. But a group of worshipers can move beyond its own “sound pool” of favorites to embrace the treasures of other cultures. The result can deepen and enrich its understanding of worship at home and abroad. Oyer will lead the group in worship of God by engaging in a variety of hymns.

Monday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. in the Church-Chapel
Convocation: “The Power of Nonviolence” by David Cortright, director of Fourth Freedom Forum
Cortright is an international expert on using sanctions and other diplomatic tools as alternatives to war. Fourth Freedom Forum’s headquarters are in Goshen. Its name originates from the fourth freedom that U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed for all people everywhere: freedom from fear. Cortright also teaches at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Wednesday and Friday, March 12 and 14 at 10 a.m. in the Church-Chapel
Chapel: “Faith and Activism” by Ruby Sales
Sales began activism work at age 15 with the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee in Lowndes County, Ala., and where she came to understand what it means to be a part of a movement for social change and how to work alongside ordinary people in order to achieve it. Sales has preached around the country on race, class, gender and reconciliation, as well as working on community and nonviolence formation. Sales attended Tuskegee Institute, Manhattanville College and Princeton University. Most recently, in 1998, Sales received a master’s of divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. She is the director of the Spirit House Project, which is located in Columbus, Ga., and focuses on interconnections of race, poverty, militarism and state violence.

For more information about the study day, call the Multicultural Affairs Office at (574) 535-7548. All events are free, except the Community Prayer Breakfast, and open to the public.

The Church-Chapel is accessible to people using wheelchairs and others with physical limitations.

Editors: Reporters and photographers are welcome at all of the study day’s events. For more information about this release, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit