RISD’s 2015 MLK Series, an annual tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gets underway this Saturday with an opening dinner and concert by the local Prism of Praise Community Gospel Choir. The series of events continues on Monday, January 19 – the national holiday dedicated to remembering King and everything he stood for - as students and other members of the RISD community come together at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Providence for the annual MLK Day of Service. Acclaimed actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover brings the 11-day celebration to a memorable close on Friday, January 30 when he presents the 2015 MLK Series keynote address in the RISD Auditorium.
“Our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. series has become a moment in the year when our campus community retreats and refuels,” notes Tony Johnson 93 SC, director of Intercultural Student Engagement and one of the key organizers behind the MLK events. “It’s especially timely this year given recent national events that have reignited our collective awareness about justice, peace and equity – themes critical to the work and legacy of Dr. King and so many others before him. We want to empower students with a personal sense of urgency and agency – to show them that the future can be designed by them and that as artists they have invaluable tools to address and eradicate injustice.”
Glover, who is best known for his roles in big Hollywood productions such as Witness, The Color Purple and the blockbuster Lethal Weapon series, will speak about Creativity and Democracy: Social Change Through the Arts. The actor, director and producer is perhaps less known for the philanthropic and humanitarian work that has been a constant throughout his career – from his early life as a student activist and community developer to his more recent activities centered around advocacy for economic justice and universal access to health care and education.
Glover has earned Emmy nominations for his performance in the title role in the HBO movie Mandela and his work in the acclaimed miniseries Lonesome Dove, and recently co-starred in the popular TV series Touch. As co-founder of Louverture Films in NYC, he is also dedicated to producing feature and documentary films of historic relevance, social impact and artistic integrity, such as Bamako, The House I Live In and Concerning Violence, among others.
Leading up to Glover’s talk, Rhythm + Change: A Danny Glover Film Series features three films produced by Louverture: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975,Trouble the Water and Soundtrack for a Revolution. The latter screening will be followed by a faculty-led panel discussion about the role music and the arts play in social change.
“Danny Glover’s life and work demonstrate how art can be a platform for conveying complex ideas, confronting injustice and advancing culture,” notes Interim President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID. “This resonates for us at RISD, honoring our core mission. We are delighted to welcome Mr. Glover to Providence.”
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