January 18th 2022
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Week is an especially meaningful yearly event for the Caltech Y because Dr. King himself spoke on campus in 1958 as part the Caltech Y Leaders of America Series. Once again, the Caltech Y teamed up with the Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CCID) to present a weeklong lineup of events commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During the week, the Caltech Y also promoted service opportunities as a great way to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy and make a tangible difference in our community.
The week kicked off on January 18th with our MLK Keynote “What Does a Racially Just Pasadena Look Like?: Localizing Dr. King’s Beloved Community” with John Williams, the Director of the Center for Racial Reconciliation at Fellowship Monrovia Church. Williams, an attorney by trade, has dedicated his life to racial justice and education. He regularly guides civil rights journeys to the American South that explore African American history, hosts cultural trips around Greater Los Angeles focused on African American, Latinx/Hispanic, and Asian American cultures and history, and mediates and facilitates sessions for individuals and small groups in alternative dispute and conflict resolution. The keynote presentation via Zoom drew 115 attendees.
On January 20th, the Caltech Y planned and hosted an MLK Service Project. Twelve volunteers gathered out on the Caltech Y driveway to prepare and pack sack lunches for Union Station shelter residents and community members in need. For more than 45 years, Union Station Homeless Services has helped adults and families facing hunger, homelessness, and poverty - and since 1995, the Caltech Y has been a part of the effort. It is a great reminder of Dr. King’s service, particularly with poor and underserved populations.
The week wrapped up with a two-part program where attendees watched and discussed the documentary MLK/FBI. Based on newly declassified files, the shocking and powerful film explores the US government's surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his years of activism. MLK/FBI won the Best Documentary Award at the San Diego International Film Festival in October 2020 and had a profound impact on the 30 individuals who participated in the screening and discussion.