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January 20, 2004 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-20

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NEWS

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 5A

Students celebrate MLK day with community service

By Farayha Arrine
Daily St Reporter
Viola Sanders, a resident of a Saline nurs-
ing home called Evangelical Homes, had done
nothing all day until she was treated to a man-
icure by student volunteers participating in the
MLK Day of Service, part of the University's
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sympo-
sium yesterday.
Sponsored by Students Promoting Aware-
ness, Reflection and Knowledge, the event
placed volunteers into different organizations
throughout Ann Arbor and Saline. These
included organizations such as the Ann Arbor
Hands-on Museum, Recycle Ann Arbor, and
Evangelical Homes.
LSA junior Christal Philips, who volun-
teered at Evangelical Homes, enjoyed her time

with senior citizens while visiting different
rooms with the nursing home's pet rabbit.
"I'm unlike a lot of people ... I just like to
volunteer. I think one day isn't a whole lot to
give back to the community," she said.
LSA sophomore Tara Reddy, an organizer
for yesterday's event, said that SPARK aims to
work with issues that concern event volunteers.
"Not only do we do regular community
service activities but we also do those activi-
ties that will make an impact and discuss that
with our volunteers," she said.
Despite a rewarding experience for those
who participated, only about 40 people attend-
ed the Day of Service, out of 50 registered
volunteers.
"I think the numbers have diminished since
my freshman year here," said Phillips who has
been involved with SPARK for three years. "I

remember a whole lot of people being here ...
it's kind of disappointing to not see a whole
lot of people.
"Students would rather stay home and
watch MTV," she added.
Greta Halbert, an LSA senior who has been
with SPARK for two years, blamed the lack of
participants for the ineffectiveness of some of
the activities put on by SPARK.
"We have days where we hope to get a hun-
dred people at the different sites because you
can only do so much with one person. That's
more of our goal - to get as many people
involved as possible," she said.
Halbert credited SPARK for having done
the usual flyering and chalking to promote
the Day of Service but believes that word of
mouth would have gotten more people to
the event.

Phillips believed that this years' "confus-
ing" symposium logo found on fliers and t-
shirts may have not sparked an interest among
students.
"One of my friends saw (the cover design)
last night and said, 'What is this?' I don't
think it was a very good flier." said Phillips.
The design, which says "You, Me, We ... He,
She, They" was designed by Associate Prof.
Dennis Miller in the School of Art and Design.
The inspiration for his work came from
the question that is asked in this year's sym-
posium theme: "Still Separate? Still
Unequal?" After looking at many ways to
interpret these questions, Miller focused on
these "selfish" pronouns as the root of
inequality.
"It's always 'us against them.' We are pro-
tecting our turf against everyone else in the

"I'm unlike a lot of people
... I just like to volunteer. I
think one day isn't a whole
lot to give back to the
community.
- Christal Philips
LSA junior
country. To ask (people) to think about their
attitude towards those around them, their own
selfishness, is what the legacy of Martin
Luther King Jr. asks us to do," he said.

'U'

community gathers at Hill Auditorium to

lIsten to keynote speaker ofMLK symposium

MLK KEYNOTE
Continued from Page 1A
and minds of white children, and Brown was
silent on that fact."
By ignoring the psychological effect of segre-
gation on working-class and poor whites, the
Brown ruling facilitated the backlash of many
whites against desegregation, Guinier said.
Because working-class and poor whites
believed segregation was to their benefit,
Guinier said, they viewed desegregation as an
impediment to their own success and most saw
little reason to mobilize with blacks around com-
mon economic interests.
Vickie Wellman, an Ann Arbor resident,
attended the event with her husband Ian Mac-
Gregor and her granddaughter Reena Hobrecht,

age 4. Wellman said they attend every year to
honor and commemorate Dr. King. She said
Guinier spoke clearly about class and power
issues that go beyond race, and empowered the
audience to rethink how they live in the world
and what they teach their children.
"We want to share the load of the work and
pass on the torch," Wellman said. "We're leaving
(our granddaughter's generation) a lot of work to
do in this country. We'd better give them some
better tools than mainstream television and
newspapers - they're going to have a lot of fix-
ing to do."
Engineering senior James McGinnis said he
has attended the MLK Symposium for four years
to raise his awareness and as part of his commit-
ment to the movement for equality.
He said he was impressed by Guinier's com-
ments and the depth with which she addressed

the topic.
"She actually spoke about issues deeper than
what affirmative action or civil rights might
address, talking about the way society is struc-
tured and that being the reason for the inequality
that exists today," McGinnis said.
He said he learned more about the need for
grassroots work and finding solutions instead of
patches for current problems.
"It's harder work but it has a much bigger
long-term impact and I feel that's what she really
spoke about today."
He added that the event was worth waking up
for and hoped even more people would attend in
the future.
"We want this (Hill Auditorium) to be too
small next year," he said.
- Sarah Roffman and Donn Matthew Fresard,
for the Daily, contributed to this report.

Senior Vice Provost Lester Monts introduces speaker Lani Guinier at the University's
17th annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium keynote address.

KIDS
Continued from Page 3A
ask them, "What can you do? So (we
tell them they can do) something small
like showing tell them it doesn't have
to be something large scale but that it
starts with the individual," she said.
Robert Jones, a musician at the
event, explained the history of racial
differences in America through per-
forming folk music.
He included examples of how songs
were used to help blacks escape from
slavery. But Jones also stressed what
American music has become because

of diversity and what can be learned
from it.
"We can learn about each other by
listening to the music. In fact this
American music is black music,
white music, Asian music, Arabic
music, all of that," he said during his
performance.
"This is one of (the) things that
brings us together. I just spent 45
minutes talking about why American
music wouldn't sound like it does if
we didn't have black and white, Euro-
pean and others. That's just sort of a
painless way of teaching kids about
that," Jones added.
Gale Wolkoff, a teacher from Green-

hill School, said they brought their stu-
dents to the event to ensure they learn
something about the holiday and not
just have a day off.
"Greenhill decided many years ago
to have a day-on rather than a day-off.
What we tried to do is remember Mar-
tin Luther King's work and the work of
many other people, and (how) what
happened in the past can still happen
now," she said.
Students of Greenhill School also
said they thought it was important to
come to the event. Sixth-grader Sara
Tweedy of Greenhill said she learned a
new way to think about American
music from the event.

She added that she also learned
how racial diversity has affected the
evolution of music through the
decades.
But she said she has also become
aware of racial inequality in her
school, and that coming to the event
has reminded her of the importance of
giving people of all races the same
opportunities.
"There are some African Americans
(in my school) but it's mostly white.
(Black people in general), they don't
get the same chances - they could do
a lot more, but they don't have enough
money," Tweedy said.
While students at the event identi-

fied ongoing racial inequalities at their
schools, parents attending the event
were glad the students were learning
how to confront those injustices.
Devon Adjei, mother of Sena Adjei
and Dzifa Adjei, brought her two chil-
dren to the event in the hope that they
would learn the ideals of King.
She said of the event, "It's good to
have a structured way to commemorate
Martin Luther King's holiday. (It's a
way) to commemorate the day though
actions."
Like Tweedy, Adjei acknowledges
that young students still face chal-
lenges in schools. "My son is in sec-
ond grade, he already had an incident

with a child that didn't like him
because he was black."
But she added that children could
learn to overcome these difficulties by
learning of King's life. She said,
"There isn't empowerment in oppres-
sion, but empowerment in how people
deal with oppression."
Sena, 7, said he liked how the activi-
ties allowed him to express his creativ-
ity through art he drew at the event.
Dzifa, 5, also enjoyed coloring pic-
tures, but she also learned something
important about King and so she wrote
it on one of her pictures - Martin
Luther King wanted everyone to be
friends.

. .. ...... . ..

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