Annual MLK Study Day at Goshen College seeks to advance intercultural action


Goshen College students, faculty and community members will focus on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and explore the theme “Be Brave, Show Grace: Advancing Intercultural Action” during the MLK Day celebration events on Jan. 18 and 19.

The community is welcomed to campus on Sunday, Jan. 18, for a free Voices-n-Harmony gospel choir concert at 7 p.m. in the Umble Center. On Monday, Jan. 19, there will be a community breakfast with table discussions and guest speaker Ewuare Osayande, anti-oppression coordinator with Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Tickets are required for the community breakfast, and can be purchased online at or by contacting the Welcome Center at (574) 535-7566 or at Tickets are available at a reduced rate of $18 for adults and $15 for students before Jan. 7. Tickets are $22 after Jan. 7.

An educator, writer and activist, Osayande has led social justice workshops for colleges, churches and community groups across the country and globe. In 2002, he co-founded POWER (People Organized Working to Eradicate Racism), an anti-racism learning experience and workshop series.

In 2006, he created Onus Rites-of-Passage, an anti-sexist character development program for African American boys and young men. Osayande has also penned several books, including “Whose America?” and “Commemorating King,” and is editor of “Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander,” a global anthology of social justice poetry. Most recently, he taught African American studies at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey.


Reverend Kanyere Eaton, the pastor of Fellowship Covenant Church, a Bronx-based congregation of the Evangelical Covenant Church, will speak during a 10 a.m. convocation on Jan. 19 in the college’s Church-Chapel. Known for her down-to-earth style and engaging delivery, she has preached, taught and led workshops in churches across the U.S., as well as in Korea and South Africa.

Reverend Eaton has worked in both public and private sectors as a social service professional with backgrounds in early childhood education, substance abuse recovery, direct service management, hunger prevention and philanthropy. Between 2000 and 2010, she served as executive director at The Sister Fund, a private women’s foundation in New York City. Currently pursuing a doctorate of ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary, Eaton holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a master of science and social work degree from Columbia University.

Goshen College’s 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day events:

Sunday, Jan. 18
7-8:30 p.m. – Voices-n-Harmony concert, Umble Center
Features GC’s gospel choir, Notre Dames’s Voices of Faith gospel choir, and other local gospel artists. There will be a dessert reception after the concert. Free and open to the public.

Monday, Jan. 19
7:30-8:30 a.m. – Community breakfast (advance tickets required), Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall
Featuring guest speaker Ewuare Osayande, anti-oppression coordinator with Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

  • Before Jan. 6: $18 per ticket/$144 per eight-person table. $15 for students.
  • After Jan. 6: $22 per ticket /$176 per eight-person table. $15 for students.

To make reservations, go to, or contact the Welcome Center at (574) 535-7566 or at

9-10 a.m. – Coffeehouse and talkback session, Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall
Students and faculty will read original poetry, fiction and nonfiction, as well as works by others.

10-11:45 a.m. – Convocation, Church-Chapel
This all-campus gathering will include music and guest speaker Reverend Kanyere Eaton, pastor of Fellowship Covenant Church, New York City.

Workshops and lectures:
2:30 p.m.

  • “Making the Invisible Visible: Design as a Vehicle for Social Change” with Anne Berry, design faculty at Notre Dame, in Newcomer Room 19.  Participants will receive a general introduction about the field of design, and learn more specifically about design as a way to document and preserve narratives that might otherwise become lost or forgotten. There will be some focus on how to use art and design as a way to bring about change. The session will include some brainstorming activities to help participants think about ways art and design can facilitate building strong community relationships.
  • Final presentation for Regina Shands Stoltzfus’ Conversations on Race class in Newcomer Room 17. Students in PJCS 199 will lead  “Conversations on Race in the Era of Ferguson, MO.”  Their work analyzes and provides a historical and societal context for the events leading up to the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and many others.
  • “Preparing for Public Witness: Tools and Exercises,” with Rich Hostetler Meyer (’79), in Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall South. Rich is director of Elkhart County Clubhouse, a support community for adults living with mental illnesses. From 1997 – 2008 he was a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, serving with the Palestine Team and on the Support Team, and afterward as a reservist. He led and co-led the CPT training module on Preparing for Public Witness, and he brings elements of that training to this workshop.He has helped to prepare many groups of students for participation in public witness around issues of militarism and racism.
  • “The Language of the Unheard: #ICantBreathe” with Ewuare Osayande, anti-oppression coordinator at Mennonite Central Committee U.S., in the Church-Chapel’s Koinonia Room. In 1966, Dr. King stated that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” This workshop will address the various creative ways African American activists are confronting systems of oppression and garnering national attention and international support through the use of social media, nonviolent direct action campaigns and other forms of resistance. The workshop will also consider how these movements offer new models of activism that expose the hypocrisies of America’s social norms even as they evoke and embody more authentic notions of democracy and pave the way for a more just future.

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