A virtual approach to celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will give the North Central College community an opportunity to engage in relevant discussion topics.

North Central News

Unique Teach-in invites exploration of MLK’s life, his goals, and lessons for today


Laura Pohl

Jan 13, 2021

A virtual approach to celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will give the North Central College community an opportunity to engage in relevant discussion topics—despite the delayed start of the semester until Monday, January 25 

Twelve topics presented over three hours will allow participants to examine subjects that are part of a continuing campus dialog about race, anti-racism, equity, inclusion and King’s goals of peace and justice. The theme for the day is “A Time to Break Silence.”  

“Our goal is to engage members of the campus community in learning and conversation,” said Dorothy Pleas, assistant dean of students, director of multicultural affairs and co-chair of the College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. We felt that a teach-in could give the community the opportunity to learn more about social justice issues and other related topics. All of the lead presenters are from North Central. I knew that many people around campus had knowledge that they could share, so I invited them to submit proposals. 

Support for the MLK Vision Day Teach-In is provided through a generous grant from Healing Illinois, an initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with the Chicago Community Trust. 

The MLK Teach-In will be conducted onZoomand consist ofhourly sessions beginning at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Attendees are welcome to drop into the sessions as their schedules allow but they should register in advance. 

Following the Teach-In, the campus and community can join the virtual luncheon event for prayers, music, personal reflections and keynote speaker Kijuana Boulrece ’94, therapist and community educational advocate. Starting at noon, the luncheon will be broadcast on the North Central College YouTube channel and on the North Central College website. The luncheon is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

For more information about the MLK Vision Day and Black History Month events, please visit our web page or contact Dorothy Pleas, assistant dean of students and director of multicultural affairs at djpleas@noctrl.edu. MLK Vision Day and Black History Month events are supported by BMO Harris, Nicor and a grant from Healing Illinois, an initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with the Chicago Community Trust. 


North Central College MLK Day Teach-In Sessions 

Monday, January 18, 2021 

9 a.m. sessions:  

Allyship to advocacy to activism: A student-led discussion on turning ideas into action 

Presenters: Haven Denson ’22 and Milia Harris20/M22, graduate assistant in the Center for Social Impact  

Silence is not an option: Using interrupter phrases to promote anti-racism 

Presenter: Jennifer K. Shah, assistant professor of education  

Writing and speaking that matters: A rhetorical perspective on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s communication, life, and work 

Presenters: Kelli Jeanne Ling, instructor of communication; Rev. Keith Kelsey-Powell, pastor of Davis Junction United Methodist Church; Megan Sullivan, associate professor of rhetoric, Boston University  

Moving beyond solidarity and toward anti-racism in STEM 

Presenter: Joanna Weremijewicz, assistant professor of biology  

10 a.m. sessions: 

Being Black American at a predominately White institution 

Presenter: Mikel Mays ’22 

Racial reconciliation: A process, not an event 

Presenter: Sohinee Roy, associate professor of English  

Breaking the silence about the white supremacist violence that ended reconstruction’s advances and created the Jim Crow south 

Presenter: William C. Barnett, associate professor of history  

Supporting men of color: Understanding the needs and how to encourage engagement on campus 

Presenters: Stephania Rodriguez14, assistant director of multicultural affairs; Augustine DeBacco, assistant director of residence life; Khadeil Ergas M22, graduate assistant in Multicultural Affairs  

11 a.m. sessions 

Lessons learned: Race and the criminal justice system 

Presenters: Raleigh Blasdell, assistant professor of sociology, and students from the course Race and the Criminal Justice System 

Understand yourself to be a better leader: Exploring self-identity, values and leadership 

Presenter: Margaret Stacy-Duffy, assistant director of career development  

"It's always the right time, to do the right thing." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

Presenter: Danielle Langford, adjunct assistant professor of business and communication 

The evolution of underrepresented minorities’ identities in the American education system 

Presenter: Cierra Desmaratti22