"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Martin Luther King Scholars have become a part of various on campus traditions at Brandeis University.
Each Fall MLK Scholars participate in a daylong retreat for the purposes of bonding and building community. During this retreat scholars also brainstorm both their community service opportunities for the year as well as one just for fun outing that in the past has included dinner in local restaurants, a Boston Symphony Orchestra trip and attending a Celtics game in Boston.
Each year, MLK Scholars engage in community service such as collecting donations for and sorting clothes at Cradles to Crayons in Spring 2014, helping to clean the Charles River area in Spring 2012, and volunteering for a haunted hayride for children at a local farm in Fall 2012.
Each year, new Scholars take over positions of leadership in a club called MLK and Friends. The purpose of this club is to hold events to promote social justice, community service, education and equality. The club also focuses on the ideals of community building and unity in the spirit of Dr. King. It is also a way to bring together MLK Scholars and members of the Brandeis community interested in this task.
MLK and Friends holds an annual event called Cohesion with a different theme that fosters conversation and planning for the volunteering that will take place that year. In 2012, the Cohesion theme was poverty and was therefore followed by food drives and volunteering in low-income areas of Waltham, MA.
For the past eight years, MLK and Friends has teamed up with other members of the Brandeis community including Associate Dean of Student Life, Jamele Adams, to put on a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that consists of poetry, performance, and the revival of the spirit of Dr. King through the delivery of one of his speeches. In 2012, the theme was “Occupying the Dream!” and the 2013 memorial was held focusing on the “Duty of the Dream”. This event included keynote speaker Herman W. Hemingway ‘53, the first black man to graduate from Brandeis and a brother in Dr. King’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.Through these events, MLK Scholars have been able to build a united community among one another with the common desire to strengthen the larger Brandeis community and to uphold the timeless values of Dr. King.