Social responsibility has long been part of the Keuka College fabric, particularly as it pertains to the local community.
For example, Keuka students, staff, and faculty participate in Make a Difference Day, the Angel Tree Project, and Celebrate Service…Celebrate Yates. Members of the College community also volunteer their time and talents at Milly’s Pantry, the Humane Society of Yates County, and Clinton Crest Manor, among others.
Five years ago, Keuka began a new tradition of service to the local community—one that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As part of this year’s MLK Day of Service, members of Keuka College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will conduct a free hoop clinic for children 5-12 years old at the Penn Yan Academy gym from noon-2:30 p.m.
In addition, volunteers will help paint the set for the Penn Yan Middle School’s upcoming play, The Music Man, from 9 a.m.-noon, or noon-2 p.m.
Lunch will be provided for basketball clinic participants as well as those painting the sets.
Chevanne DeVaney, Keuka College’s director of multicultural affairs and director of the Women’s Center, will participate in the Community Conversation series held at Milly’s Pantry and Pinwheel Market at 2 p.m. DeVaney will join community members Dr. Henry Thomas, Freeman T. Freeman, Edith Mann, and Jim Wilson to discuss “Race, Justice, and Access to Your Own Healthcare.”
The panelists will talk about how physical, emotional, and spiritual health are important, and how different groups may experience different issues around access and treatment in various health settings. The presentation is free and open to the public.
The Community Conversation series provides continuing discussion on how people in the community access support, and what barriers they may face for their healthcare needs.
The fifth annual event at Keuka comes three months before Celebrate Service… Celebrate Yates, a day of community service organized by Keuka students and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. It has helped dozens of non-profit organizations and agencies enhance the quality of life in the region for the past 16 years.
Dr. King and Keuka College have a connection dating back 50 years. He delivered the baccalaureate address and received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree June 16, 1963. He was accompanied to Keuka Park by his wife, Coretta Scott King.
To volunteer for the MLK Day of Service, or for more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at [email protected] or (315) 279-5225.
By Dr. Sander A. Diamond, professor of history
This year marks the milestone anniversaries of seven events that changed our nation and the world, altering the lives of the witnesses and all that followed.
The Battle of Gettysburg (150 years), Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg (150 years), the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as president (80 years), Dr. Martin Luther King’s defining oration in Washington, D.C. (50 years), and the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas (50 years) helped define the American journey and continue to impact our lives. Adolf Hitler’s ascension to power (80 years) and the Battle of Stalingrad (70 years) altered the course of world history in ways that were unimaginable at the time.
On Jan. 31, 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Within a year, he consolidated his power, the Third Reich was born, and the course of world history was soon to take a different course.
Three months later, FDR stood on the steps of the Capitol and was sworn in as president in the midst of the Great Depression. Unlike Hitler, who told the German people that the depression was caused by a great conspiracy, FDR told our nation that “all we have to fear is fear itself.” FDR led the the nation through the darkest days of the Great Depression and World War II. Rarely has there been a sharper contrast between good and evil, between all that was embodied in FDR and what Der Führer represented.
In the annals of military history, there are battles that turn the tide of warfare. In World War II there were two: D-Day, June 6, 1944 and the Battle of Stalingrad, which came to an end Jan. 31, 1943 with victory by the Red Army. It was after Stalingrad when Hitler acknowledged to his close associates that the war might not end as he imagined.
In World War II, it was Stalingrad and D-Day June 6, 1944. This year we will commemorate the 150th anniversary of a battle that took place in Gettysburg, from July 1-3, 1863. The hilly landscape, with outcroppings of rock and names like Seminary Ridge, Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Ridge, became a killing field. When it ended, 56,000 were dead or wounded, and Lee’s shattered forces retreated to Virginia. The tide of war had turned and when it ended in April 1865, more than 750,000 men had died, according to recent estimates.
The battlefield was dedicated Nov. 19, 1863, with the grave sites still fresh and much of it still littered with pieces of weapons of war. The words delivered by President Lincoln that day transcend what occurred on that blood-soaked battlefield, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.”
One hundred years later, on Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy, the embodiment of youth and vigor, was shot and a few minutes after 1 p.m. the nation and the world were in a state of shock as they listened to the report from Parkland Hospital. After JFK’s death, American politics and foreign policy moved in a different direction. We are left to only speculate what would have happened had he been elected for a second term.
Four months earlier, on Aug. 28, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the mall and delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In the shadow of Lincoln, he called upon the nation to complete its work, the promise of equality for all 100 years after Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. The Civil Rights Movement had moved to the top of the nation’s agenda.
We can never forget the evilness of Hitler, but as we stop and commemorate so many defining events this year, we should be thankful that each generation brought forth people like Lincoln, FDR, JFK and King who in word and deed gave us a better world. Their monuments are less in stone than in ourselves.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question,” said Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “is ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Keuka College is providing an answer to that question for students and community residents.
Thanks in part to a $250 MLK Challenge Grant from New York Campus Compact, the College has organized a day of service Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, a federal holiday marking the birthday of the slain civil rights leader.