Celebrating a Legend's Life and Morals

Author: Tessa Bangs and Janet Stengle

Celebrating a Legend's Life and Morals

For the third consecutive year, Notre Dame celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a week-long series of events. “Walk the Walk Week,” highlighted by a kickoff candlelight prayer service and a concluding campus-wide luncheon, took place from Jan. 15-22, 2018. 

On MLK Day, the prayer service was held in the Main Building at 11 p.m. Students and faculty circled the dome with candles, accompanied by the gospel choir Voices of Faith. Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Becky Ruvalcaba reflected on Dr. King’s mission and its place in modern society. To continue Dr. King’s walk, “we must begin by searching our own hearts,” she said. 

President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. also spoke about continuing Dr. King’s work. To close the service, attendees placed their candles around the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue on God Quad, which was decorated with luminaries. A late-night “breakfast” at South Dining Hall followed the walk. 

The week ended with a celebratory luncheon held in the Joyce Center. Classes were suspended during the lunch hour, and the entire campus community was invited. Attendees were treated to sustainable box lunches — different from previous years in order to allow more members of campus dining to attend the festivities — as well as speeches from Fr. Jenkins and Ann Firth, chief of staff to the university president. 

There were also musical performances, a video highlighting recollections of the campus community, benedictions, prayers and more. The keynote speakers were the father-son duo of David Robinson — now a philanthropic figure and businessman, and better known as the “Admiral” of professional basketball — and his son, Notre Dame alum and former Student Body President Corey Robinson. They discussed topics ranging from the legacy of Dr. King to the influential lessons and experiences in their own family history. Several thousand members of the Notre Dame community — professors, students and more — attended the luncheon. 

Junior Alyssa Ngo, Asian American Association representative to Diversity Council, was featured in the luncheon video. “Right now, I think our country is at a crucial time, and empathy and understanding is more important than ever,” Ngo said to Scholastic. “Although we, both as a university and society, need work, I was motivated by the number of people there [at the luncheon] who were willing to take that first step towards critical dialogue.”