Elizabethtown College kicked-off a month-long celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with an Interfaith Prayer service on MLK Day on January 18. The service, co-hosted by Etown’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Title IX and the Chaplain’s Office featured remarks by President Cecilia M. McCormick and served as an introduction of a series of events to honor the King’s life called Building our Beloved Community. 

The name was derived from King’s speech delivered at a rally in 1956 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate the seats on Montgomery busses, “the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.”

Building our Beloved Community will include three components centered around education, service, and civic duty:

  1. Beloved Community Collective – The College will offer a series of 1-1.5 hour free courses from January 25 to February 12. Participants will receive an e-certificate of completion for each course completed. The courses are broken out into three different categories. All faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend courses as desired:
    • Intercultural Competency – Building community by developing an understanding of the experiences of marginalized identities.
    • Social Justice – Building community by developing a belief in and commitment to the dignity of each individual person.
    • Relationship with Self and Others – Building community by caring for oneself and others.
  2. Remote Service Opportunities – The Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE), and the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking (CGUP) are coordinating the following service opportunities which can be completed remotely:
    • 2,021 Notes of Gratitude – Etown seeks to extend 2,021 handwritten notes of gratitude to our community partners in the first few months of 2021! Write your note of thanks as a postcard, letter, or greeting card, and send to partners in the Etown community or your home community. You can review recommendations and tips, keep track of the notes you send, and help Etown track our progress to 2,021 by logging on to our Billion Acts online profile.
    • Dental Hygiene Kit Drive – Collect dental hygiene items that can be packed supplies into much needed dental hygiene kits to be given to United Way of Capital Region for distribution. Kits are made up of one regular size toothbrush, one regular size toothpaste, and one regular size dental floss. Collected items can be turned in to the CCCE offices when you return to campus for the spring semester.
    • Plarn Mats – Plastic balls of yarn (plarn) can be created using plastic grocery bags and then will be woven into mats and distributed to the homeless population in Harrisburg. View instructions to make plarn. Plan can be turned in to the CCCE offices when you return to campus for the spring semester.
  3. Register to Vote – While the 2020 election season is behind us, ensuring you are registered to vote is no less important. Etown encourages all students, faculty, and staff to register to vote if you are not currently registered and check your voter registration status if you are. Visit votespa.com for more information.