Deon Custard builds lighting cues around performers preparing for Martin Luther King Day 2020 presentations at Bates College’s Schaeffer Theater in Lewiston on Thursday night. Custard, a junior year theater and English major, says the hourlong range of multidisciplinary programs, including theater, music and dance, presents an exciting challenge as the lighting designer. “It’s stretching me in every direction,” he said. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON – Bates College will celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday and Monday with an array of workshops, community discussions and exhibitions centered around race, bias and prejudice. It is free and open to the public.

The theme is From the Ground Up: Inequity, Bias, Privilege, Structure, Death.

Sean Findlen, chief communications officer for Bates College, said Bates has been observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day every year for “decades.”

“It’s a long-standing thing for us,” Findlen said. “When I was an undergrad in the ’90s, they were doing it, and I know they were doing it before.”

Findlen said there are no classes that day and students are “encouraged to attend the workshops and discussions.”

The observance will kick off at 2 p.m. Sunday in Pettengill Hall G52 with a film screening and discussion of the documentary “An American Ascent.” It will be followed by a dress rehearsal at 4 p.m. in Schaeffer Theatre for the annual performance of student organization Sankofa, who will tell the stories of women of color who are ignored within the Bates College and Lewiston communities.

At 7 p.m. an interfaith service will be held in the Olin Concert Hall, led by the Rev. Dr. Theon Johnson III, an Oakland, California, pastor.

On Monday from 9-10:30 a.m., keynote speaker Jennifer Lynn Eberhardt, professor of psychology at Stanford University, will present “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do.”

Several of the workshops Monday will be focused on local people or locations, or will be moderated by people with connections to Lewiston and Bates College.

One workshop titled “A Discussion of Race and Bias in Lewiston Public Schools,” will take place from 1:15-2:45 p.m. in Commons 221-222 and will be moderated by several Bates students.

The workshop will focus on how race and bias shades the experience of people of color in Lewiston public schools, specifically young students who attend Hillview Family Site after-school programs.

Other workshops Monday include:

• Using K-3 Picture Books to Address Race and Racism with Children, 10:45 a.m. to 12: 15 p.m. at Muskie Archives, moderated by creators of Diverse BookFinder, a public database that allows people to search for diverse children’s picture books.

• Identity in the Workplace: How Does Who I Am Inform Where (and How) I Work?, 1:15-2:45 p.m. in Pettengill Hall G52, moderated by Bates Center for Purposeful Work staff. Four Bates alumni will share stories of how they have navigated their identities throughout the workplace.

• Invisible in Plain Sight: An Economy on the Backs of Our People, 1:15-2:45 p.m. in Commons 226, moderated by Crystal Cron, president of Presente! Maine, and community organizer Edier Ramirez. The workshop will give Latinx workers employed in the southern Maine lobster industry to share their stories and how they adjusted to moving to Maine.

• Retuning to Dadaab: A Somali Refugee Returns from Lewiston to Kenya, 1:15-4:30 p.m. at the Fireplace Lounge in the Commons, moderated by Loring Danforth, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Anthropology. Maine resident Shuab Mahat will screen his virtual reality video of his trip to the Dadaab Refugee Complex in eastern Kenya.

• Foreignizing the Process at Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, 3-4:30 p.m. in Commons 211, moderated by Bates students Emma Wheeler, Will Weeks and Elizabeth Kiley-Bergen. This presentation will talk about how Bates students working as translators for the Immigration Legal Advocacy Project tell immigrants’ stories.

Findlen said that while the observance is free, some of the events may require a ticket ahead of time, due to space limitations.

For more information on the observance schedule, call the Conferences and Campus Events department at 207-786-6400.

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