Rev. Robert Lee IV, above, will be the keynote speaker Monday for MLK Week at Saint Michael's College. Attorney S. Lee Merritt, below left, will be Thursday's featured speaker.
Activist-author-preacher Rev. Robert Lee IV, a direct descendent of the Civil War general whose statue was at the center of racially charged violence in Charlottesville, VA, last year, will be keynote speaker on Monday January 22 during Saint Michael’s College’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation Week.
“The Cost of Silence” will be a focusing theme of the week’s activities.
Speaking on Thursday later that week (Jan. 25) at 7 p.m. in the McCarthy Arts Center Recital Hall will be social justice activist and Attorney S. Lee Merritt, whose topic will be “The Cost of Silence in the American Justice System: Struggling for Justice for a Free and Democratic Society.”
The keynoter, Rev. Lee, will speak first during a faculty and staff convocation luncheon in the Dion Student Center at 11:45 a.m. on Monday (Jan. 22), and again at 4:30 p.m. the same day when he will be the keynote speaker during the main MLK Convocation in the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel. His topic there will be “The Cost of Silence: Asserting our Responsibility in the face of Injustice and Oppression.”
These two headlining speakers are part of a full week of programming at the Colchester campus between Jan. 20 and Jan. 26 designed to engage the Saint Michael’s campus and wider community in conversations that meaningfully advance the values and vision put forth by Dr. King, said the chief organizer of the week’s activities, Dr. Moise St. Louis, the College’s associate dean of students and director of The Center for Multicultural Affairs and Services.
For several recent years, Saint Michael’s has chosen to honor Dr. King later than the official national holiday on Monday, Jan. 15, allowing students and faculty greater opportunities for preparation and participation in these important discussions immediately after a long holiday break, St. Louis said.
Other highlights of the week include: Rev. Lee’s appearances on Monday, community forums and discussions Tuesday and Wednesday led by panels of Saint Michael’s professors and clergy from the College’s founding Society of Saint Edmund (which has a long history of civil rights activism); Attorney Merritt’s program on Thursday, a Poetry Slam Festival on Friday evening; and The Newark Boys Chorus and Praise Dancer Shakylah Morris on Saturday, Jan. 27 in the McCarthy Arts Center at 5 p.m. to wrap things up (moved up a week from originally scheduled previous Saturday).
Here’s the full Saint Michael’s MLK Week schedule, with more details:
Saint Michael’s College Martin Luther King Convocation Week
January 20- January 26
Theme: “The Cost of Silence: The Responsibility of the individual in the face of Injustice and Oppression."
Monday, January 22, 2018
FACULTY/STAFF CONVOCATION LUNCHEON
Dion Student Center – 11:45 a.m.
“Teaching Social Justice in a time of moral relativism: Addressing American history, the Robert E. Lee statue controversy and white supremacy”
Chapel of Saint Michael’s the Archangel – 4:30 p.m.
Keynote: Reverend Robert W. Lee IV
“The Cost of Silence: Asserting our Responsibility in the Face of Injustice and Oppression”
Robert Lee IV, a direct descendant of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was at the center of violence in Charlottesville, is a pastor, is an author, activist, commentator, writer, and preacher. Lee is a native of Statesville, North Carolina and graduate of Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. He has preached extensively across the nation on the Christian ethics of personal responsibility, repentance, and racial reconciliation. He has written extensively for both secular and religious news outlets. Rev. Lee’s work has appeared in outlets such as NPR’s Morning Edition, Ministry Matters, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, the Huffington Post, the Common English Bible: Student Edition, and most recently, the Washington Post. His leadership and commitment to social justice has landed him at the MTV Video Music awards and on the View where he spoke about the need to confront white supremacy and white privilege in white churches. Rob’s first book is titled Stained-Glass Millennials and explores the relationship between the institutional church and the millennial generation.
“I do believe in God's role in calling out for positive social change for the good of all. We are all called by God to speak out against hate and evil in all its many forms. I want to especially challenge white Christians in America to take seriously the deadly legacy of slavery in our country and commit ourselves to follow Jesus into a time of deep reflection, repentance, and reconciliation.” -- Rev. Lee.
Tuesday, January 23
FORUM ON SILENCE AND INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY
Dion Student Center Roy Room – 7 p.m. (this one non-public internal session on the week’s schedule will be closed and include only Saint Michael’s community members; however, Fellows and faculty are happy to talk about this initiative with interested media at any time, and describe outcomes of the forum afterward.)
The Saint Michael’s Fellows for Positive Engagement (SMCFPE) will lead this Student Forum in collaboration with other student organizations on our campus. The Fellows are the first recipients of funds obtained through a grant from the Boston-based non-profit Campus Compact thanks to the initiative of Dr. Moise St. Louis earlier this year. The role of the Fellows is to engage the Saint Michael’s campus in dialogues around issues “that are difficult for our community to discuss and foster constructive conversations,” St. Louis said.
Wednesday, January 24
REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNITY
Dion Student Center Roy Room -- 7 p.m.
An evening of reflections and conversations about the lives and realities of members of our community as they ponder questions about the cost and implications of remaining silent, and reflect on their responsibility in the face of injustice. Panelists: Dr. George Dameron (History), Rev. David Theroux (Director, Edmundite Center for Faith and Culture/Center for Peace and Justice), Rev. David Cray(Edmundite, Former Trustee/ member of Diversity and Inclusion Council), Toni Messuri (Director, Office of Accessibility Services), Josh Meyer (Coach, Basketball), Sarah Klionsky (Counselor, Wellness Center), and Rev. Ray Doherty (Edmundite member of Campus Ministry). Facilitated by Dr. Katherine Kirby.
Thursday, January 25
ATTORNEY S. LEE MERRITT: “The Cost of Silence in the American Justice System: Struggling for Justice for a Free and Democratic Society”
McCarthy Arts Center Recital Hall-- 7 p.m.
S. Lee Merritt is a social justice activist and an influential new voice in the fight for Civil Rights throughout the country by bringing a passion for social reform and a commitment to speaking out on inequities while practicing law. His commitment to social justice is born out of his own experiences and inner city upbringing. Merritt is committed to the reform of the justice system in America and is using his practice to effect lasting change for underserved and underrepresented communities. Prior to becoming an attorney, Merritt worked as a school teacher and basketball coach. He is also a spoken word artist, public speaker, mentor and proud father.
A graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, Merritt attended law school in Philadelphia, PA at Temple University's James Beasley School of Law where he received several commendations for trial advocacy as part of the National Trial Team. He was also recognized for his acumen in persuasive writing as an inductee to the Temple Inn of Courts. Attorney Merritt leads a high profile practice with clients involved in international events including the tragic Dallas sniper attacks of July 7, 2016, corporate discrimination cases, viral police brutality matters, and several cases associated with the Black Lives Matter Movement. Attorney Merritt enjoys a reputation for dogmatic determination and ensuring a just outcome for his clients beyond mere monetary compensation.
Merritt also will be featured speaker at a luncheon in the Alliot Hall Vermont Room earlier Thursday at 11:45 a.m.
Friday, January 26
POETRY SLAM FESTIVAL
McCarthy Arts Center -- 7 p.m.
Featuring some of the best upcoming and established poetry slam artists: Olivia Gatwood (New York), G. Yamazawa (California), Muslim Girls (Vermont).
Saturday, January 27
McCarthy Arts Center Recital Hall - 5 p.m.
THE NEWARK BOYS CHORUS & PRAISE DANCER, ShahKylah MORRIS
The Newark Boys Chorus is one of the most celebrated Boys Choir in the nation. The Concert Chorus performs throughout the U.S. and internationally. Directed by Donald Morris, the Chorus has performed in world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, in addition to the White House and cathedrals throughout Europe. Not only does the Concert Chorus perform for entertainment, the boys also lend their voices to celebrate community events and raise awareness of important issues like cancer, AIDS, and human rights. Doors open at 4:35 p.m.
*Information: Moise St Louis: 802-654-2663, firstname.lastname@example.org
or Kimoi Seale, 802-654-2247, email@example.com