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Jan. 20-26: Bucknell MLK Week 2020 Is ‘Time to Break the Silence’

Bucknell University’s 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Week will bring scholars and activists to campus Jan. 20-26 for performances, lectures and discussions that reflect upon Dr. King’s legacy within the context of contemporary struggles.

Entitled “Time to Break the Silence,” the series will begin on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 20, with a noon lunch conversation by Julian Agyeman, a professor of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University, in the Elaine Langone Center’s (ELC) Walls Lounge. Following his talk, a series of four breakout sessions will be held on poverty and food insecurity, campus racial justice, sustainability, and sexuality/transgender. The lunch is open to everyone but RSVP is required at

The author of 11 books, Agyeman is the originator of the concept of just sustainabilities, the intentional integration of social justice and environmental sustainability. His talk will outline that concept as a response to the “equity deficit” of much sustainability thinking and practice.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Opal Tometi — a globally-recognized human rights advocate who is known for her role as a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement and as executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration — will participate in a 4 p.m. moderated Q&A in the ELC Forum. The talk will elaborate on Tometi’s activism combatting structural racism and other forms of injustice.

Tometi was a 2018 recipient of the VH1 Everyday Trailblazer honor and received a Frederick Douglass 200 Award from The Guardian for her groundbreaking contributions to contemporary social movements. Her human rights work earned her distinction on the cover of Essence Magazine’s inaugural Woke 100 issue, and she was named “A New Civil Rights Leader” by CNN and the Los Angeles Times.

The Spring Community Service Fair and Involvement Fair will follow Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the ELC Terrace Room. Local agencies seeking volunteers are invited to campus to connect with Bucknell students. Participants are asked to register online to reserve their spot.

Later that evening, versatile singer-songwriter-guitarist Toshi Reagon will perform a free, public concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. Since first taking the stage at age 17, Reagon has moved audiences of all kinds with her approach to rock, blues, R&B, country, folk, spirituals and funk.

On Wednesday, Jan. 22, poet Amanda Gorman — the inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate in the U.S. in 2017 — will present “Poetry, Power and Protest: Using Language to Live by MLK’s Values” at 7 p.m. in the ELC Forum.

Since publishing a poetry collection at 16, Gorman’s writing has won her invitations to the Obama White House and to perform for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Al Gore, Secretary Hillary Clinton and others. She performed Fourth of July and Thanksgiving poems for CBS and has spoken across the country at such venues as the Library of Congress and Lincoln Center. Now a rising senior sociology major at Harvard who is at the top of her class, she currently writes for the New York Times newsletter The Edit and recently signed a two-book deal with Viking (a division of Penguin Random House).

Lois Moses and Company will perform Moses’ play Say That He Had More Than a Dream on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. in Harvey Powers Theatre, Coleman Hall. The play honors Dr. King and the sacrifices he made in the last year of his life.

Moses is an actress, poet, filmmaker, clinician, director and playwright who has toured and performed extensively throughout the United States. She has published three collections of poetry and is also an award-winning filmmaker.

On Friday, Jan. 24, drummer, performer, composer and educator Allison Miller and her band, Boom Tic Boom, will join acclaimed tap dancer Claudia Rahardjanoto in a contemporary jazz concert titled “In Our Veins: Rivers and Social Change” at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets may be purchased online and are free for Bucknell students (limit two) and are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors 62 and over, $10 for both youths 18 and under and Bucknell employees and retirees (limit two).

Described by critics as a charismatic and rhythmically propulsive drummer with melodic sensibility, Miller is a critically-acclaimed percussionist and Yamaha clinician.

“In Our Veins: Rivers and Social Change” is a multimedia suite for chamber jazz ensemble and tap dancer centered around five American rivers (Susquehanna, Delaware, James, Hudson and Schuylkill) and the social and environmental changes they inspired.

The week’s events will conclude with a multi-faith celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 11 a.m. in Rooke Chapel. A reception will follow at noon.

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