Southeastern plans MLK remembrance Jan. 31


Wednesday, January 26, 2022 
by: Tonya Lowentritt 

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University will celebrate the legacy of the late Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with a memorial march and remembrance program Jan. 31.
     Open to the public and featuring remarks by Brandon V. Lewis, an educator and visual artist, the event is sponsored annually by the Kappa Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the Office of Multicultural and International Student Affairs.
     The event will begin with a candlelight processional at 7:06 p.m. outside of the REC (formerly known as the Pennington Student Activity Center) at the walkway underpass. The ceremony will conclude with a program in the Student Union breezeway that will include Lewis’ remarks and reflection on King’s life and impact.
     A resident of Baton Rouge, Lewis is a product of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System and is a graduate of McKinley Senior High School. After graduation, he studied and earned a degree in history from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Studying African American history on the college level allowed Lewis to gain an even further understanding of the rich heritage that is the African American experience.
     For the past nine years, Lewis has worked as educator at Baker High School, where he serves as the fine arts chairman and African American studies teacher. He is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and is also a member of the National Association of History Educators, National Association of Arts Educators, the Greater Baton Rouge Arts Council and the New Orleans Arts Council.
     Lewis is a celebrated visual artist, and painting is his passion. Over the past 18 years, he has dedicated his work to the celebration of his people and their stories.
     “I was raised by a unit of strong and relentless black women and a phenomenal grandfather who served as my father. Those individuals, along with the elders I’ve encountered in the church and on porches in small country towns such as Ethel and Clinton, are my inspiration,” he said. “Women with large ankles and ‘settled bodies,’ who took pride in their appearance and always walked unapologetically in their own truth, men of little words but who possessed tremendous wisdom, those people are the reason I create. I am a custodian of their stories.”
     “Every time I pick up a paintbrush, it is like picking up a pen,” Lewis explained. “I am simply re-telling their stories with some paint and a brush. Artwork outlives its creator, 100 years from now when I am a mere memory, my story, my mother’s, my grandparents’ and all those who came before us, our stories will celebrate our history to a new age.”
     For additional information, contact Southeastern’s Office of Multicultural and International Student Affairs at 985-549-3850.

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