MLK Day: It’s time to engage in civil discourse


Jared Hasen-Klein

Every year on the Friday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Milken community unites for a Town Meeting to celebrate and appreciate his leadership of the Civil Rights Movement. This year will be no different. The theme of the Town Meeting is Shema, Hebrew for “listen.”

The meeting is generally followed by some type of teachings at lunch. For example, 2016 featured a film festival and 2017 included a Social Justice Teach-In.

This year, the community will engage in a series of dialogues in Milken’s quest to transform its students from passive listeners to active members of the community. Director of Experiential Learning Ms. Lauren Miller commented that, “Every MLK Day I look for opportunities to deepen our understanding of how the Civil Rights Movement is still relevant today and what civil rights, social justice, and racial justice issues still exist in our society.”

The sessions will be largely conversation-based to provide more opportunities for students and faculty to engage in important discussions. The following activities are designed to be “conversations that students should be having,” explained Miller. Participants are encouraged to go to something that they are genuinely interested in, show up open-minded, and willing to share their own opinion and listen to the opinions of others.

Conversations of controversial topics can get messy. This program is geared towards people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty and can respectfully and intelligently engage in debate for something they are passionate about. Sound like you? Join any of these sessions on Friday, January 12th. Pizza will be provided in all sessions, free of charge. So, there is no need to wait in the normal Student Government line.

If the event goes well, Miller has plans of conducting similar conversations again in the near future.