Reflecting on past Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day events, MLK Day Planning Committee members Josephine Pandji ’16 and Margot Shang ’16 speculated that student interest in MLK Day could be amplified if students began thinking about the day earlier. 

To this end, Shang and Pandji created a website, mlkandover.com, to allow students to explore the workshop topics ahead of time and look at student artwork based off of MLK Day themes of identity.

The website includes short descriptions of each workshop offered on MLK Day, along with workshop locations and timings. 

“The workshops are really powerful I think because they can really be the spark that catalyzes [your thoughts], but if you have that catalyst beforehand, it can only elevate what the workshops can do for you,” said Shang.

 The website exhibits 21 pieces of student artwork, including poetry, sculptures and paintings.

“I think some of the visual poems… have an underestimated power because it’s easy to flip through [the artwork] and …some of the [other] ones are a little more eye-catching that others but the stories articulated in [the visual poems] are really moving,” said Shang.

Impressed by the number of submissions they received for their art section of the website, Shang and Pandji are optimistic that even more artwork will be submitted in future years. 

“We had people just respond to general prompts [of] what they thought about identity or all these different factions of race, but next year we might… add different components because I think a barrier for submissions was that the prompts were almost too open ended. People didn’t know what to do. I think what we’re going to do [next year] is almost make even more little pockets of this overall campaign so that people understand a little more specifically what they can do to contribute,” said Shang.

 “Since this idea has [already] been set down for this year, everyone knows about it, they go on the website and they see the art submissions, [Next year,] people will be more likely to submit. [We’ll] also reach out to more people and maybe different groups and clubs and see if people would like to contribute to the website,” said Pandji.

 The website also included a music video featuring members of Azure, Keynotes, Yorkies and Gospel Choir singing “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.

“We chose ‘Man in the Mirror,’ because the song’s narrative encapsulates both the message we wanted to share with the student body and the purpose of the art campaign. ‘Man in the Mirror’ is about simple observation sparking a need for change in an individual. That was the essence behind the entire campaign. To look at art, especially art online, only a momentary investment of interest is required, but that momentary investment can still cause a  spark,” wrote Shang in an email to The Phillipian.