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College of Agriculture’s MLK week urges “good trouble”

"W

e all need to recognize that equity and anti-violence work are daily practices,” Skye Kantola, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) coordinator for Purdue Extension and Purdue Agriculture’s Office of Multicultural Programs (OMP) and an MLK Jr. Week event co-chair, said. “Every day we have the opportunity to make choices towards making positive changes in our community.”   

Or, as John Lewis, the late civil rights activist and U.S. Congressman from Georgia, would call it, “good trouble.”   

The College of Agriculture, in collaboration with the College of Health and Human Sciences, will kick off MLK Jr. Week (Jan. 25- 29) by paying tribute to the legendary civil rights leader who lost his life in July 2020. OMP will screen “Good Trouble,” a documentary chronicling Lewis’ life and echoing his advice for civil rights supporters to “get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” The virtual screening will take place at noon on Jan. 25

The screening is one of the week’s events that will address a tumultuous year for civil rights that prompted protests and discussions about inequality and systemic violence throughout the U.S.  

Diversity Awareness Week brochure with information about seminars, forums and presentations
MLK Jr. Week schedule

The theme for the college’s MLK week is “And the Band Played On,” a phrase often used to describe the downplaying of crises by authorities and institutions of power. In this case, Kantola said, the term references a lack of recognition by institutions and government entities regarding chronic abuse and exploitation routinely sustained by Black people, Indigenous people and other People of Color (BIPOC).   

The week’s programs seek to highlight groups and people existing at intersections of marginalization. For example, the MLK Jr. Week committee has organized a virtual Black Trans & Queer Leadership in Civil Rights Panel. The panel will highlight the history of civil rights activists working at the intersection of Black, Trans, and Queer lived realities, and offer suggestions for how to engage in racial justice work. This discussion will take place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 26.   

While many of the events of this week were crafted to reflect on and acknowledge a challenging year, ultimately Kantola hopes attendees will take away insight, actions, and strategies in the ongoing fight for racial equity.   

“Movement building is an ongoing process,” Kantola said. “There is a beginning, but there isn’t usually an end. I want people to take away some of the historical contexts for today’s movement while also understanding ways to reduce harm in their communities and contribute to interpersonal healing. None of us created structural inequalities, but we all have the opportunity and responsibility to intervene and address these issues in our daily lives.”  

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