Celebration recommits King’s legacy to new generation

Understanding the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. and relating them to a new generation committed to racial healing and justice is the goal of “Remembering and Renewing King’s Dream for Peace: Black Lives Matter” on January 22, 2016, at Fresno Pacific University.

This sixth annual celebration includes a rally beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the McDonald Hall Fountain on the main FPU campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno. There will also be a program from 5:00-9:00 p.m. in BC Lounge, also on the main campus. Admission for the evening event is free but seating is limited to 150 people. Food will be provided. For more information, please contact Karen Crozier, Ph.D., FPU director of faculty development and diversity and associate professor of practical theology, at Karen.Crozier@fresno.edu or 559-453-2020. The celebration will be available for live or delayed viewing on the Web at fresno.edu/live.

The keynote speaker is Iva E. Carruthers, Ph.D., general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. The organization’s mission is to “nurture, sustain, and mobilize the African American faith community in collaboration with civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders to address critical needs of human and social justice within local, national, and global communities. SDPC seeks to strengthen the individual and collective capacity of thought leaders and activists in the church, academy, and community through education, advocacy, and activism.” (sdpconference.info)

Iva B Parrish portrait

Carruthers has a long history of engagement in community development and social justice, fostering interdenominational and interfaith dialogue in the United States, the Caribbean, South America and Africa. She is the former director of the Black Theology Project and founder of Lois House, an urban retreat center in Chicago, who currently serves as a Life Time Trustee for the Chicago Theological Seminary, and trustee for The Kwame Nkrumah Academy, Chicago; American Baptist College, Nashville; Shared Interest, New York; and Bread for the World, Washington, D.C.

Co-editor of Blow the Trumpet in Zion: Global Vision and Action for the 21st Century Black Church, Carruthers has authored and edited a number of articles and publications. She was also a delegate to the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

Professor emeritus and former chairperson of the Sociology Department at Northeastern Illinois University, Carruthers received a B.A. from the University of Illinois, an M.A. and the Ph.D. from Northwestern University, a Master in Theological Studies from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Humane Letters from Meadville Lombard Theological School.

Many Fresno-area church and community leaders will participate in the event, which is for religious and community leaders, high school, college and graduate students and anyone interested in racial healing and justice. The celebration will address race relations, racial healing, social justice, non-violence and peacemaking as well as ministry and prophetic witness by pastoral leaders, churches, individual Christians and social justice-oriented academicians and grassroots community organizations.

Alliant International University is the major partner for the celebration. Other partners include the African American Catholic Ministries of the Catholic Diocese of Fresno, the Catholic Diocese of Fresno Social Justice Ministry, the Fresno City College African American Studies Program, the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary Student Leadership Team, the FPU University Diversity Committee, New Light for New Life Church of God, West Side Church of God and Xican@s Community Activists.