Benedictine College to Feature Ferguson Panel for MLK Day

Benedictine College to Feature Ferguson Panel for MLK Day

Friday, January 09, 2015

ATCHISON, Kan. – Monday, January 19, marks the national observance of Martin Luther King Day and Benedictine College will observe the day with a special group of panelists close to the events that unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer. The discussion is set for January 19 at 2:00 p.m. in O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium inside the St. John Paul II Student Center. It is free and open to the public.

“The members of the Benedictine College MLK Committee want the BC community to have the opportunity to observe Martin Luther King Day in a meaningful way,” said Dr. Amy Posey, associate professor and chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences at Benedictine and co-chair of the MLK Committee.  “Social justice issues are clearly important to BC students. This panel will provide both historical context and current relevance regarding the struggle for racial equality.” 

The panel includes John Gaskin, a Benedictine senior from the St. Louis area who provided frequent commentary regarding the events surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown, including more than 90 appearances on CNN’s Situation Room. John's mother, who heads a local Ferguson Task Force, will join her son to share their experiences and insights regarding the events in Ferguson. John's grandmother, Esther Haywood, has been a civil rights advocate for over 50 years and marched with Dr. King in the 1960s. She will also participate in the panel and bring a historical perpective to the discussion. Finally, Darryl Jones, a 1968 graduate of Benedictine College who grew up in the St. Louis area, will reflect on why the events in Ferguson are relevant to all of us.

The college is also encouraging students, faculty and staff to participate in the annual Atchison Community Martin Luther King Day March and Ecumenical Prayer Service later that evening. That event begins with a gathering in front of City Hall at 6:30 p.m., followed by a march to the Atchison United Methodist Church, located at 5th St. and Kansas St. The prayer service is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. This year, the Benedictine College Women’s Ensemble and the St. Benedict’s Parish Choir will be among those performing at the service. A reception will follow.

“We hope the annual Atchison Community March from City Hall and the ecumenical prayer service become traditional parts of a BC student’s college experience,” Posey said.

For more information on Martin Luther King, Jr., go to

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top 20 Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.