Annual MLK Day Celebration Welcomes Maxine Waters

Rep. Maxine Waters, whose 43rd Congressional District includes Loyola Marymount University, will be the keynote speaker at this month’s annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Celebration and Prayer Breakfast.

The event that melds LMU’s mission and social vision is Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, at 10 a.m. in St. Robert’s Auditorium.

“MLK Day is an opportunity for us to recall the heroic efforts of Dr. King as a champion of equality in this country,” said John Sebastian, vice president for Mission and Ministry. “But for me it is also a reminder that we can’t just rely on our heroes to effect change. Each of us is responsible for making our society more just, more hospitable, and more loving, and this day is a great time for thinking about what each of us can do within our own spheres of influence to transform the world.”

This year marks the 34th celebration of MLK Day and the 25th celebration of the MLK Day of Service. “Although King was assassinated over 50 years ago, in my opinion, his words and vision are more relevant than ever,” said Nate Sessoms, director of the Office of Black Student Services and a lecturer in sociology at LMU. “It’s important for LMU students to understand that many of King’s victories, for example the passage of civil rights legislation, were victories for everyone. To that end, his struggle – the struggle for civil rights and human dignity – has benefited all people.”

Waters, a frequent visitor to LMU, is the chair of the House Financial Services Committee and has been called among the most powerful women in the country, by her admirers and critics. She has been a strong voice on a number of issues, including affirmative action, community development, women’s health and welfare reform, and has moved legislation to improve the lives of her constituents and people around the country. Waters is serving her 15th term in Congress.

“Congresswoman Maxine Waters has been an outspoken advocate for justice for many years,” said Sessoms. “LMU is within her Congressional District, so I know that she has a vested interest in campus happenings.”

“LMU’s mission and Catholic identity mean that we understand every person and the whole beautiful human family as created in the image and likeness of our God,” said Sebastian. “Every color, every shape, every language is an expression of God’s infinite creativity and, more importantly, of God’s boundless love. Our MLK Day celebration here at LMU calls us together as a community of different races and classes and genders unified in our commitment to realizing Dr. King’s vision, and God’s own dream, of a world in which every single one of us is cherished as a child of God.”

Said Sessoms: “This celebration is very personal for me. As director of the Office of Black Student Services, I’m honored to play a role in bringing the entire campus community together to reflect, recommit to our values – both shared and personal — and begin the second half of the school year with a renewed focus and resolve.”

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