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  • By Shelbi Ankiewicz

Melissa Harris-Perry commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day at CCU

Due to weather concerns, Coastal Carolina University’s keynote speaker Melissa Harris-Perry will be giving her speech virtually over zoom.

Although the event is being held online, it will still be ticketed. Viewers can go to CCU’s Intercultural and Inclusion webpage to reserve an online ticket. The event is on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.

CCU held multiple events this week to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr., The final event is on Saturday, Jan. 22, where Harris-Perry’s speech will kick off a new series the office of Intercultural and Inclusion Student Services is launching. Perry’s speech is titled “Finding Friends, Creating Coalition, and Stitching Strategy, Organizing Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Harris-Perry is an author of two books, a distinguished professor at Wake Forest University, and an MSNBC and NPR news host. She is an advocate for marginalized groups and focuses her works on creating alliances across different identity communities.

Director for Intercultural and Inclusion Student Services Joshua Moore said Harris-Perry is a great speaker for this series because the focus is about coalition and bringing awareness to the fact that many different groups experience oppression.

“Oppression and discrimination and marginalization doesn’t just happen to Black people. So I think that there are a lot of opportunities to take some of the lessons from MLK and really what does that mean for us today,” Moore said.

This is the third year CCU is holding a celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. Moore said it is important to keep in mind that King did advocate for the African American community, but he also fought for voter rights, equal pay, men and women of color, and equal access to transportation, among other things.

Moore said multiple departments, such as the office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Edwards College, want to bring awareness to campus of all marginalized groups. Professor of German and Director of the Edwards College Equity and Inclusion Gary Schmidt said the new series focuses primarily on two communities.

“We’d like students to have a better understanding of the history of injustice and oppression that has led up to the current moment, and also to understand some of the shared experiences, shared hopes of different groups of individuals, specifically in this case Jewish and African American,” Schmidt said.

The series, entitled Connect the Dots, will include a variety of events throughout the semester, including small group discussions, movie showings, and concert performances. Dates are not finalized yet, but there will be updates on social media.

Moore said he looks forward to the semester ahead and hopes Coastal can start making a difference by being aware and recognizing all communities.

“We still have a lot of work to do as a country, but knowing that we are a small piece in this big puzzle, I hope that from Dr. Melissa Harris Perry keynote address… I hope that people take away, what can we do here in our community to at least start enacting change here,” Moore said.

Harris-Perry’s event will be virtual via zoom at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 22. The event is free but will be ticketed. To reserve a ticket, go to CCU's website and search "Intercultural and Inclusion Services." From there, click on events, which will then redirect to the events page where Harris-Perry can be found near the end. It is open to all students and the public. For more information about related events, follow @iissccu on social media.

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