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Judy Richardson Presents Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Convocation at Mount Union College

January 19, 2004

Racism, as Judy Richardson noted, is not personal, it's institutional. The producer of PBS's "Eyes on the Prize" and Mount Union College's keynote speaker for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events, Richardson told stories about her experiences growing up as a woman during the civil rights movement and how the concept of civil liberties still applies today.

Her involvement during her college years and after with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which she described as a "leadership training ground," helped her understand her responsibility to the civil rights movement. "It helped form me," she said.

Richardson explained how SNCC's grassroots leadership changed the country and realized violence wouldn't stop its movement. "I saw people who were absolutely committed to the movement," she said, listing former members who have filled leadership roles, such as the chairman of the NAACP, congressional members and influential filmmakers.

She applied the aftermath of September 11 to civil rights, noting that the USA PATRIOT act goes against the entire movement. "Our civil liberties are in danger," she said.

"We've got to start reading," Richardson said, as a way to educate ourselves on why the government does what it does. "We can't just turn on local news."

The Martin Luther King, Jr. speaker is chosen for embodying the life, work and legacy of King.

Richardson's keynote address at the convocation was followed by a speaker discussion and brunch.

In addition to the keynote address, Mount Union sponsored a number of other events in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Tunnel of Oppression, a program designed to create an awareness about issues of oppression through interaction, was held on campus. In addition, the College presented Barnga, where participants experience the shock of functioning in other people's worlds through an interactive card game.

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