“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” ~ Martin Luther King Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963. This quotation is the theme to the 2016 OSU MLK Jr. celebrations as it still rings true for our society today. Within the context of the letter, Dr. King wrote about the “interrelatedness of all communities and states,” our shared commonalities, and that “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” The events from this year’s celebrations highlight Dr. King’s message and connect it to our own Corvallis area and OSU communities.
Two of the events as part of the celebrations included a lecture by Professor Joseph Orosco who spoke about “Places of Injustice” within the Corvallis community and the 34th annual Peace Breakfast that featured keynote speaker Jeff Chang who spoke about student activism. As part of his lecture, Orosco noted that there are a number of local places named after historical figures, specifically white men, with ties to racism and discrimination. He described the histories of the of these men and asked the audience to think about these locations and what it means to have them named after these historical figures – he expressed that how we name our community spaces (or when we leave places named as they are), such as parks, buildings, and geographic areas, is a reflection of our community values and who we are today. Jeff Chang’s keynote address at the breakfast complimented Orosco’s lecture by recounting the bigger picture of student activism and how communities are coming together to strive for equity for all.
And, the OMA’s “Untold Stories: Histories of Student of Color at OSU” campus tour guidebook is a perfect combination of the two topics – the significance of honoring student led social justice activism and their connections to physical locations on the OSU campus. The guidebook was featured at both events!