Intergenerational and Interfaith Programs Planned for Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY Geneseo's commemoration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 16 will focus on a daylong program of intergenerational and interfaith service. Students and area senior citizen volunteers will participate in educational presentations followed by projects to serve the needs of home-bound senior citizens in Livingston County.

Students, faculty and senior citizen volunteers will begin the MLK Day of Leadership and Service by learning about King's legacy through a keynote address from William Cook, a distinguished teaching professor of history at Geneseo, titled "Martin Luther King Jr. at Age 83." The group will then attend leadership workshops through the college's GOLD Program (Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development). During lunch, they will listen to local teacher and civil rights activist Lulu Westbrook-Griffin address "Freedom is Not Free," the story of her arrest in Americus, Ga., in 1963.

In the afternoon, participants will engage in service projects to assist the 400 home-bound senior citizens in Livingston County. Projects will include creating dry soup mixes; writing greeting cards and notes; filling energy saving draft dodgers; assembling File of Life Everyday Information Kits; and cutting fleece for scarves. Thirty senior citizens from the Livingston County Office for the Aging Foster Grandparent Program will be participating in the program and helping with the service projects.

"College campuses across the country are involved in the national Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge to advance programs focusing on religious tolerance and our day of leadership and service commemorating Dr. King's life reinforces our efforts within that initiative," said Tom Matthews, Geneseo's associate dean of leadership and service. "We have a great educational program planned this year and the service component will benefit the numerous home-bound senior citizens living in Livingston County."

Participation in the Day of Leadership and Service is free but requires registration by contacting Matthews at or calling the Center for Community at 245-5706.

The Corporation for National and Community Services leads the annual nationwide MLK Day of Service, working with the King Center in Atlanta and thousands of schools, nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations and businesses. On the Geneseo campus, The GOLD Program is partnering with college's Division of Student and Campus Life; Center for Community; Office of Multicultural Programs and Services; Office of Volunteerism and Service; MacVittie College Union and Activities; the Student Association; Campus Auxiliary Services; and the Foster Grandparent Program at the Livingston County Office for the Aging.

Geneseo will continue the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. March 8 by hosting civil rights movement activists Judy Richardson, Dorothy Zellner and Betty Garman Robinson. They are editors of "Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC." They will speak at 7 p.m. in the MacVittie Union Ballroom.

On March 7, Richardson will lead a discussion of the film "Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre, 1968," and Robinson will lead a community organizing workshop for student. Both events are free and open to the public but the workshop requires advance registration through Emilye Crosby, professor of history or Catherine Adams, assistant professor of history.

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