By Keenan A. Mount
On January 20, Lewis and Clark held an event that was broadcasted live to the college’s YouTube channel. The event consisted of readings of MLK Jr.’s speeches and writings by members of L&C’s student body, recordings of performances from the Aeolians of Oakwood University, an award winning collegiate choir group, and John McReynolds, a grammy-winning gospel musician, as well as a live speech from the keynote speaker, Alonzo Nelson Jr..
This program as a whole is entitled “Mindfulness through the Lens of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” which also served as a theme for the broadcasted program.
Alonzo Nelson Jr., the legacy educator that served as the keynote speaker for the program, presented the concept of yoking together all people, a concept that is critical to MLK Jr. ‘s philosophy, through the lens of yoga, something Nelson is passionate about. The connection being that yoga, to Nelson, is the “Yoking together of the mind, body, and spirit.” In presenting MLK Jr. through yoga, Nelson argues for MLK Jr.’s status as a yogi in that he embodies the yamas and niyama, the yoga concepts of external and internal discipline. Nelson cites MLK Jr.’s propensity for nonviolence in his argument as yamas is translated from sanskrit to english as “non harming.” In total, Nelson utilizes the mindfulness present in yoga to examine MLK Jr.’s brand of mindfulness and where that may come from. Nelson argues that it is through love and experience that our identity is formed, as he stated, “Our identity is wrapped up in how we love, who we love, and what we love.”
When asked on the importance of these events that celebrate and ruminate on MLK Jr.’s legacy, Mumba Mumba, the event organizer and Professor of Speech at Lewis and Clark, expressed that, “If we do not reflect on his philosophy we won’t learn about the existing injustices.” Mumba also talks on the inception of the event, expressing the intention of having a yearly celebration of MLK Jr.’s life. Mumba employed the help of Mario Love, Tandra Taylor, Jared Hennings, Mya Lawrence, Brenda Lancaster, and the keynote speaker, Alonzo Nelson Jr. Mumba expresses her gratitude for them “bringing their expertise, and community connections to help bring the event together.” Mumba also goes on to thank the student readers, Deija Carter, David Crull and Tahje West, as well as the technical advisors, Jay Hollinger, Brian McKinney, and John Sundberg.