If you closed your eyes you might have thought you were at the heart of the civil rights movement in the 1960s—that’s how eloquently Anthony Monteiro, PhD, spoke of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Students, faculty, and staff gathered in the McNeil STC AstraZeneca Auditorium on January 15, the day of Dr. King’s birth, in recognition of the man former President Jimmy Carter called “the greatest American.”
“There’s so much love here at USP it’s hard for me to describe it,” said the sentimental Dr. Monteiro, who taught at USP from 1988 to 2003. “Today, we celebrate Dr. King’s birth, we remember his legacy, and hopefully, we commit ourselves to standing for what he stood for.”
Being forthright with the audience at the onset of his speech, Dr. Monteiro said he was somewhat anxious because of the pressure he put upon himself to convey Dr. King’s legacy, but the evocative discourse that followed showed no signs of nervousness. “There’s always a certain amount of melancholy when one approaches the commemoration of King’s birth,” said Dr. Monteiro. “One always feels a sense that the King we are too often celebrating is not the Martin Luther King, Jr., who lived.”
As Dr. Monteiro’s speech continued, he explained the differences between the commonly construed interpretations of Dr. King’s message and his own understanding. As an example, Dr. Monteiro drew upon the famous “I have a dream” speech, in which Dr. King said he hopes in the future his kids will not be judged upon the color of their skin but on the content of their character. “Many will use that statement as an attack upon affirmative action, almost to suggest that we have transcended race,” said Dr. Monteiro. “Therefore, to raise the issue of race would be to violate the legacy of Dr. King, but nothing of course could be further from the truth.” Dr. Monteiro emphasized the point that we have not yet realized the full potential of Dr. King’s vision—a nation in which race is neither basis for judgment nor a topic to be suppressed.
The picture of Dr. King that is often painted in schools usually frames him within the civil rights movement, but as Dr. Monteiro emphasized, his legacy is much more far reaching than that. Dr. King should not simply be remembered for his efforts in earning African-Americans equal rights during the 1960s, but drawn upon for inspiration and guidance on how to eliminate the social and racial inequalities that exist today.
Dr. Monteiro’s address was both enlightening and inspiring; some might even say it was reminiscent of Dr. King himself. At the conclusion of his speech, the audience’s outpouring of enthusiasm was evidence of his infectious admiration for Dr. King.
“I agree with President Jimmy Carter; King is the greatest American,” concluded Dr. Monteiro. “King, in my mind, is the founding father of the new America, and if America is to be great, it will have to look upon the foundations of what Martin Luther King, Jr., stood for.”
MLK Day Community Service Projects
The Center for Community Connections will host two community service projects in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr., Day. Transportation will be provided for both projects.
—On Monday, January 21, students will volunteer at Duckery Elementary in North Philadelphia. Volunteer opportunities range from cleaning, promoting Healthy Lifestyles Initiative Awareness and fire safety. The projects run from 8a.m.-2p.m., so the volunteers will meet in the ARC lobby at 7a.m. Boxed lunches will be provided.
—On Saturday, February 2, the 16th Annual African American Children's Book Fair will be held at the Community College of Philadelphia. This free event is sponsored by The African American Children's Book Project. Volunteers are needed to help set up, assist in disseminating information at the book fair (literary row), coordinating our guest authors/illustrators and assisting in the reading circle. The event is one of the largest dedicated to literacy for African-American Children, preschool to young adult, in the country - studies show that children who read make more responsible lifestyle decisions. The project shift will run from 11:00a.m.-3:30p.m.
Additional spring volunteer opportunities can be found at this link.
For further information concerning Community Service Projects contact: Ms. Lizz Gable Director of the Center for Community Connections E.Gable@usp.edu or 215-596-8734 - Whitecar Hall Room 120
A Gift for You from the National Liberty Museum
To honor you for participating in the Martin Luther King Day of Service, come enjoy free admission for you and your family from 10a.m.-5p.m.
Watch a Big Screen broadcast of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech. Make your vote count in front of a wall-size photo of the March on Washington. Receive a free No-Hate button to help keep the dream alive.
National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut St., Philadelphia,
PA 19106. 215-925-2800 www.libertymuseum.org
Food Drive to Embrace the “Day of Service”
The Department of Physical Therapy is sponsoring a food drive for the food panty at the Southwest Community Enrichment Center as a way to embrace the “day of service”. Food collected between January 15 to January 18 will be delivered on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Monday, January 21. Boxes will be placed in the McNeil STC lobby and in the 4500 Woodland Avenue Building for anyone interested in participating. To commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., occupational therapy department faculty and staff collaborated with Paul Furtaw and staff from the counseling center to develop a program focusing on awareness and self awareness of issues related to diversity, bias and discrimination. All professional level students currently on campus participated in small group activities during the morning on Martin Luther King Jr. day. Students were asked to identify service activities to engage in during the afternoon. Activities that students participated in included: organizing and conducting a clothing drive for the Southwest Community Enrichment Center, clean up and creating educational materials for Kencrest Early Intervention/Head Start program, picking up trash in Clark Park and on South Street, helping an elderly neighbor clean her house, assisting with activities at an Assisted Living Center, donating blood, working at a soup kitchen, and assisting with a children’s book fair.