Barry McNamara  |   Published January 09, 2019

Celebrating the King Legacy

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, convocation speaker to discuss mass incarceration, afternoon classes to be canceled so students can participate in service projects.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – The director of an Illinois project that brings college classes to prison inmates will be the keynote speaker at Monmouth College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day convocation.

REBECCA GINSBURG: Co-founder and director of the Education Justice Project will give the keynote ... REBECCA GINSBURG: Co-founder and director of the Education Justice Project will give the keynote at the convocation for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.Rebecca Ginsburg, who is co-founder and director of the Education Justice Project, will give the convocation address at noon Jan. 21 in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. Free and open to the public, the convocation will also feature student dance and spoken word performances. Jazz vocalist Semenya McCord will perform a guest solo.

Monmouth afternoon classes will be canceled so students can participate in service activities that commemorate King’s legacy. They will have the opportunity to volunteer at several community venues, including the Warren County YMCA, Legacy Estates, Courtyard Estates, the Warren County United Way and Western Illinois Animal Rescue.

Ginsburg founded the Education Justice Project in 2006 at the University of Illinois, where she is a professor of education. The Education Justice Project offers for-credit courses and co-curricular activities to men incarcerated at Danville (Ill.) Correctional Center, a medium-security state prison. It also includes outreach with family members and friends of incarcerated people, produces reentry guides, and promotes critical discussion of issues related to incarceration and criminal justice on the Illinois campus and in the community.

Monmouth philosophy and religious studies professor Dan Ott, who has taken a leadership role in organizing the King Day events on campus, said that this year’s convocation speaks to what King called the “evil triplets” – racism, poverty and war.

“There’s little doubt that were King alive today, he would point to mass incarceration as deeply rooted in at least the first two problems and possibly its own fourth category of social illness,” said Ott. “For this reason, we see Rebecca Ginsburg’s work on incarceration and criminal justice as an extension of King’s legacy.”

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