Every January, the Caltech Y organizes the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Week in partnership with the Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CCID) to celebrate his life, explore current events through the lens of his legacy, and follow his example in service to our community. The week is always of special significance as we reflect on Dr. King’s campus visit in 1958 as a part of the Caltech Y Leaders of America Series.
The Caltech Y organized community service projects to kick off and close out MLK Week through the Union Station Homeless Services Adopt-A-Meal Program at our local shelter. The Union Station Adult Center provides shelter, meals, and supportive services to over 150 people each year. Our student leaders picked the menu, shopped for food, and guided other students in the Union Station kitchen, where they prepared the meals and served them to residents. It was a fitting way of starting and ending the week by putting Dr. King’s example into action.
To draw attention to some of Dr. King’s lesser-known speeches, information and materials were provided at CCID for a group bookmark-making session. Copies of speeches and quotes were displayed around the room, and craft supplies and samples were on hand to allow students to embrace their creative side while learning about the breadth of Dr. King’s wisdom. Students gathered in small groups on one of three available craft shifts. It was a fun and relaxing learning opportunity for all involved.
The featured speaker, Heather Malveaux, delivered the keynote entitled “The Justice of STEM: A Critical Conversation on the Intersections of Social Justice and STEM” over Zoom Wednesday, January 18th. Malveaux, Campaign Manager at the African American Policy Forum, is a passionate racial justice advocate and educator. She uses her combined expertise in public health, public service, and legal studies to educate on racial and ethnic health disparities, the political and social standing of Black women in the United States, the Black Lives Matter movement, critical race theory, intersectional feminism, and antiracism. With over eight years of experience as a facilitator of interracial conversations about race, racism, and privilege in a collegiate setting, as well developing diversity, equity, and inclusion training, she had much to share with the eager audience.
Once again, MLK Commemoration Week was an important opportunity for the Caltech Y to impact campus life and promote engaged citizenship.