Coe plans celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2016-01-12 08:48:58 - General

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Coe College will host speeches, music and community service activities on Monday, Jan. 18. The program will take place in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall, and it is free and open to the public.

The theme for the Coe observance is "A Day On, Not A Day Off." Coe President Dave McInally will welcome the group at 9:30 a.m., with music featuring gospel singers following at 9:45 a.m. At 10 a.m., the keynote address will be presented by Coe Associate Professor of History Brie Swenson-Arnold.

Swenson-Arnold and Coe students have collaborated with the African American Museum of Iowa to develop a historical tour of important black history sites in Cedar Rapids. The tour was developed in response to a gap in information and public commemoration of the early African American history in the city. Using census records, city directories, newspapers and the archival collections of the museum and the college, Swenson Arnold and her African American history class have located and pieced together many of the extraordinary stories of black men and women who settled Cedar Rapids between 1865 and 1915.

The morning activities continue with speeches and slam poetry presented by Coe students at 10:45 a.m. Closing remarks will be made by Cedar Rapids community leader Stacey Walker at 11:45 a.m., followed by additional music featuring gospel singers.

A native of Cedar Rapids, Walker attended Washington High School and went on to earn his degree in study political science in 2010 from the University of Iowa. After college, he helped launch the LBA Foundation, an education-based nonprofit that works to help disadvantaged students stay on course to graduation.

Walker later relocated to Washington, D.C. to work for the Case Foundation, a family organization dedicated to empowering people and ideas that can change the world for the better. He currently serves as the chief of staff for Patel Endeavors and Hawkeye Hotels. In this role, he helps execute on growth and development strategy while also managing communications for the company and its subsidiaries. He continues to serve as a political activist and writer, with a portfolio of work published in Little Village Magazine and the Washington Post's "The Root," among many others.

In addition, Walker serves as a trustee for the Cedar Rapids Community Schools Foundation and as a board member to the Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success.

Volunteer activities

During the afternoon, members of the Coe community will be volunteering with Gems of Hope and the Ronald McDonald House in Phifer Commons located in upper Gage Memorial Union.

"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." - Martin Luther King Jr.