Date: January 4, 2011
“Building the Beloved Community—From Horizon to Horizon: Global Women’s Achievements and Concerns” is the theme for the 2011 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Andrews University. This year’s events, running Jan. 13–20, will honor the life and legacy of peace-advocating civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and include a variety of activities to enhance the understanding and appreciation of his service. All public events take place on the campus of Andrews University.
The celebration kicks off with prominent historian, author and long-time political activist Barbara Ransby offering the keynote address for University Forum on Thursday, Jan. 13. The program begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Howard Performing Arts Center and is open to the public. Ransby has published dozens of articles and essays in scholarly and popular venues. In 2003, she authored the award-winning biography Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision. Currently, she continues her activist scholarship in the areas of gender and women’s studies.
Each year, Andrews observes a tradition of having a student present one of King’s sermons. This year’s honored student, John Coaxum, a first-year seminarian, will present, "Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” during New Life Fellowship Worship Service on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 11:30 a.m. in the Seminary Chapel located in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. The sermon was originally presented by King on April 9, 1967, at the New Covenant Baptist Church in Chicago, Ill.
In recognition of demonstrated service to meet the global concerns of women, Andrews University will honor Demetra Andreasen, Bertha M. King and Jasmine Jacob as the recipients of the 2011 Legacy of Freedom Awards. The Convocation and Awards Presentation will take place Sunday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Seminary Chapel. The keynote speaker is Tricia Wynn of the Lake Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The convocation and awards ceremony will also feature an “End It Now” display that highlights international efforts to eradicate all forms of violence against women.
An essential component of honoring King’s legacy is performing meaningful acts of community service. On Monday, Jan. 17, a group of pre-selected students will provide manicures, hairstyling and makeup for residents at a local women’s shelter. Childcare and snacks will also be provided.
Several other events are planned for the week, including a café poetry reading on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Recreation Center located in the Campus Center. A special MLK Student Symposium Choice will also be held on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 11:30 a.m. (Location TBA.) “The Daughters of Eve: Global Issues and Concerns” choice will be led by Claudia Allen, Kevin Leonor and Darlene Doran. The student scholars will present their original research developed in English 215. Following individual PowerPoint presentations, each student will participate in a panel discussion on the implications and consequences of their recent findings.
The week of events concludes on Thursday, Jan. 20, with a showing of Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority, a film documentary highlighting Mink, the first Asian American woman to serve in the United States Congress (Hawaii). The showing will take place in Garber Auditorium located in Chan Shun Hall at 7 p.m.
2011 Martin Luther King Legacy of Freedom Award Recipients
Born in Greece, Demetra (Lougani) Andreasen attended Newbold College where she accepted the Adventist faith and met her husband, Niels-Erik Andreasen, who is currently president of Andrews University. Demetra received her Bachelor of Science in social work from Belmont University, Nashville, Tenn., in 1968. Prior to coming to Andrews University, Demetra worked as a medical social worker for Madison Hospital in Tenn., St. Helena Hospital in Calif., Royal Newcastle Hospital in Australia, and Parkview Community Hospital in Calif. She also served in the Office for Drug Prevention and the Department of Social Work at Walla Walla College in Washington. Demetra served as community relations coordinator for the Office of University Relations at Andrews University from 1994 until her retirement in 2005. During that time she served on a number of boards including United Way, Southwestern Michigan Volunteer Center and Women in Renewal, and as a member of the Lakeland Regional Health Systems Community Benefits Committee. When she and her husband moved to Andrews in 1994, she became chair of the Women’s Scholarship Committee. Ever since, Demetra has continued to raise funds for worthy Andrews students through friends and acquaintances. Her social work experience and love for people has motivated her to reach out to the areas of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, Mich., where she continues to do volunteer work. In the last few years, Demetra has called upon friends to knit scarves for a Romanian SDA orphanage, the children of a Latvian mining village, and, recently, 40 children at the Harbor of Hope Adventist Church in Benton Harbor.
Bertha Carson-King is a native of Benton Harbor, Mich. and a highly regarded educator, diversity consultant and motivational speaker. She holds a Master of Science in communication and secondary education certification from Western Michigan University. Carson-King launched her distinguished career in the Benton Harbor Area School District where she initiated numerous programs that improved meaningful socio, economic and educational outcomes for students, parents and educators. Later, at Jordan College, she served as counselor and student services director before transitioning to South Bend’s Memorial Hospital as an organizational development and diversity specialist. Over her career her extensive expertise in conflict resolution, team building, motivational speaking, management consulting, diversity training and family life has led her to consult for Horizon to Horizon for the Robert Wood Johnson National Conference, the 3rd National CCN Networking Conference, the Indiana Health Association National Conference and the Focus on Mental Health Association. Carson-King is co-founder of Benton Harbor’s Strong Women of Faith Breast Cancer Support Group and advises the new Lakeland Health Systems Advisory Cancer Center and the Berrien County Health Department Breast Cancer Advisory Board. Since 2004, Carson-King has personally sponsored “Help A Sistah Out” an annual faith-based regional conference which promotes holistic wellbeing for women of all ages.
In 1973, Jasmine Jacob co-founded REACH (Render Effective Aid to Children) International, a not-for-profit organization, presently serving 26,000 children in 24 countries. Born in a very humble home in Sri Lanka, Jacobs later moved to Spicer Memorial College in India for education, then to America to attend Andrews University and Michigan State University. After arriving in the United States, Jacob accepted various teaching jobs while continuing her graduate education, eventually serving as a reading consultant in the Benton Harbor School District, a poor neighborhood just a short drive from Andrews University. In 1989, Jacob took early retirement with the State of Michigan and began working full-time for REACH International without salary. For 30 years, under her entrepreneurial leadership, REACH International has established its own schools, hostels, orphanages and vocational centers for destitute children, now with branches in 24 countries. Through childhood education, this organization has helped thousands of children break their inherited cycle of poverty.