As an annual event to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, Madonna University organized a week of service projects and events in the Livonia community, January 18-22, 2021, both in person and online. From up-cycling plastic shopping bags to making mats for the homeless, to writing impactful letters to lawmakers, to cleaning up trash on local pathways, each activity embodied the Franciscan core value of “Education for Truth and Service.”
Colleen McLellan, Director of Service-Learning & Civic Engagement, said, “Our Franciscan core values sound lovely on paper, but they don’t mean anything without action. Events like MLK Week help students meaningfully engage with the core values.”
Despite celebrating this week with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, MLK Week was a huge success that impacted the community in a positive and compassionate way. All of the week’s events were special in different ways. Some students wrote letters to people who are incarcerated. Others braced the frigid temperatures to stand outside of Angela Hospice and sort food donations.
In order to foster a deeper understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion, Madonna held an MLK themed essay and photo contest. The essay asked students to identify and discuss future action steps that they will take to ensure that Dr. King’s dreams are kept alive at Madonna and in the community. Congratulations to sophomore Celina Boey for winning the essay portion of the contest. In her essay, Celina states, “...the best and only way to foster a real, permanent change in today’s world is to do just this: rework the mindset, exposing these nonsensical discriminatory beliefs and rewriting them with the unconditional truth. It must be rewritten what is normal and acceptable, to build on the new generations, and to teach those who have learned otherwise. This is the only way to truly keep Dr. King’s Dream alive. The most efficient method to accomplish this is, in my opinion, through education.”
The photo contest asked students to submit striking images that represent the ideals highlighted in our Madonna Diversity and Inclusion statement. Sharon Jacob, a first-year student, received first place in the photo contest with Dequonte Maxell in second place, and Margaretha Troyeke in third.
Honoring Dr. King’s legacy is a lifelong effort – one week will never suffice. Even with many COVID restrictions, Madonna's students, faculty, and staff were able to unite in a week of meaningful service that touched the hearts of many.