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MLK Day Events Planned for Monday, Jan. 20 on Ferris Campus, Ellison to Speak During Student Tribute

Mike EllisonDetroit-based spoken word artist Mike Ellison will speak during Ferris State University's annual Martin Luther King Day Student Tribute event on Monday, Jan. 20. The day's activities, including a Day of Service project, have been developed by Ferris' Office of Multicultural Student Services, the university's Diversity and Inclusion Office and the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services.

The 34th annual observance of Ferris State University’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations takes place Monday, Jan. 20, on the Big Rapids campus.

At 10 a.m. on the federal holiday, student groups and other volunteers will depart from the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services for the Operation Safe Sidewalks Day of Service project. Faculty and staff will participate in an in-service presentation in Room 202B of the University Center. The theme for the in-service program is, “What does Martin Luther King, Jr. mean to you?”

CLACS Career and Volunteer Services Coordinator Michele Albright said the inaugural Operation Safe Sidewalks effort in 2019 was a huge success thanks to several student groups who braved temperatures of 11 below zero.

“There was not a lot of snow, but we were thankful to have more than 30 students brave those conditions,” Albright said. “There was salt spread to make walkways safer, and the student volunteers gathered trash from the curbs along 12 city blocks, near the north end of campus. We welcome anyone, as an individual or in a group to visit the CLACS office in the University Center to register on MLK Day. Our volunteers will receive buckets of salt, trash bags and glove warmers. We will welcome them to enjoy hot chocolate as they return their supplies.”

The Office of Multicultural Student Services has organized the annual Freedom March, which begins at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, in the Rankin Atrium Lounge. OMSS Director Matthew Chaney said the Big Rapids community is welcome to join Ferris students, faculty and staff on this journey around the central campus, which returns to the University Center.

“We hope that everyone who participates looks at the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a ‘day on,’ with an appropriate focus on Dr. King’s life and legacy,” Chaney said. “We take pride in the MLK Day traditions on our campus and our opportunity to gather the campus community for each year’s celebration.”

Students can register in the OMSS office, located in FLITE, the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education, to participate in the MLK Student Tribute, which will begin at 5 p.m. in Rooms 202 B and C in the University Center. These presentations will highlight current social justice issues while honoring King’s life and work.

The OMSS will also welcome spoken word artist Mike Ellison, of Detroit, as part of the tribute event. Chaney said Ellison is originally from Ethiopia, with credits as an actor, recording artist and performer.

“Ferris alumnus Khalid El-Hakim was our MLK Day presenter last year, and recommended that Ellison be invited for this celebration,” Chaney said. “We are excited to offer his message to the campus and community that night.”

Those persons with disabilities who seek to attend any event on the MLK Celebration schedule should contact the Office of Multicultural Student Services at least 72 hours in advance, by calling (231) 591-2617 or by email.