Forty-two MIT and Wellesley College students are working on three projects as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. IAP Design Seminar. The event culminates in an artistic installation to coincide with MIT's annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King.
The three-part installation, which will be on display in Lobby 10 from Friday through Feb. 10, provides a forum for the students to express their thoughts on civil and human rights, racism, justice and the principles of Dr. King. Alexandra Awai, a sophomore in biology, and Raymond Morales, a senior in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), are directing the group.
"In today's politically correct world, we are led to believe that we live the dream of total equality and justice; however, this has not yet been realized," says their theme statement. "Our installation is a reminder of the contradiction that exists between today's reality and the ideal we strive to achieve. It celebrates the continuing struggle for civil rights that will bring Dr. King's dream to fruition."
About 10 students in the seminar have been reading books about Dr. King and civil rights to elementary school children at the Cambridge Community Center. This group plans to create a photo mosaic that will be part of the installation. They are working under the direction of John Pope, a sophomore in EECS.
Another group, directed by Terrence Strader (also a sophomore in EECS), is creating a slide show and video. They will discuss race and equality at a forum tonight from 6-8 p.m. in Room 4-231.
The overall student leader for the class is Will Lark, a junior in mechanical engineering. The instructor is Tobie Weiner, undergraduate administrator in the Department of Political Science.
The students watched "Eyes on the Prize" videos and discussed the issues and concerns of Dr. King and the civil rights movement before embarking on their projects.
The MIT Center for Reflective Community Practice will sponsor an all-day youth conference titled "Voicing Dreams and Reality" immediately following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebratory Breakfast on Feb. 8.
High school students from Cambridge and Boston will be invited to take part in the conference in Wong Auditorium in Building E51.
Bryonn Bain, a "slam poetry" champion and author of the book "The Bill of Rights for Black Men: Walking While Black," will be the main speaker. The conference will also include workshops on topics including intergenerational dialogue, activism through the arts and heroes. Participants will report back to the entire group before the conference ends with a pizza party, dance and talent contest.
Volunteers from the MIT community are invited to participate in the workshops. For more information, contact Nuri Chandler-Smith at x3-3216 or click here.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 30, 2002.