Seton Hall U MLK Day Youth Leadership Institute Continues Dr. King’s Legacy

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The following is from Seton Hall University:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’ ” On Monday, January 18, 2016 scholars from Seton Hall’s MLK Leadership Program, family and students from the Premier Dance Theater Group gathered at a Youth Leadership Institute to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his achievements and answer that question.

The institute witnessed the scholars providing insight into some of the core tenets of affecting change in one’s community.  MLK scholar student mentors focused on cultural power, personal power, community power, public power, and personal advocacy and imparting leadership skills on student attendees. They lectured on the value of each in bringing about positive change within their respective towns.

The event also featured a performance by the Premier Dance Theater Group from Montclair, NJ, consisting of fourth grade to college-aged students. The dances were mirrored to many of King’s speeches.  “I really enjoyed it. Each one of their performances had a deeper meaning and connected back to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideals.  It inspired me to see these students all taking a step to make a difference in their community,” said Maria Mangru, sophomore and secretary of MLK Leadership Program.

Those in attendance left the event with a certificate in leadership, and knowledge on how to bring change to their neighborhoods. Rev. Dr. Forrest M. Pritchett, program director of MLK Leadership Program, spoke to the importance of this approach.  “Communities do not improve by themselves. They require personal engagement. In order to thrive, they need selfless love, dedication and the commitment of a local group,” said Rev. Pritchett.

The student participants were not the only ones who felt a sense of leadership and purpose.  The scholar mentors themselves recognize their integral place in Dr. King’s mission. The Civil Rights Movement, and the activism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a major reason why all of us are even able to be here today. He fought for an end to racial inequality as well as the embrace of love and tolerance amongst mankind,” explained Crystal Watson, senior and MLK Leadership Program vice president adding, “We are a rising generation striving to get an education. It’s important for us to open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts. We are capable. We have a voice.  As a servant leader and MLK Scholar, I hope that I was able to teach these students the importance of voicing their thoughts and opinions to help them invoke change.”

Rev. Pritchett expressed optimism about Dr. King’s impact on society and effect of the program. He said that Dr. King’s legacy remains golden in the middle, with fringes on the sides, but despite the need for continued work, new immigrant groups today are enjoying their life in America, free from relative infringement.  He hopes those present at the institute will see this and have the confidence and ability to change it.

“It is fascinating to watch one generation as they shepherd another generation into the realities of the 21st century,” said Rev. Pritchett.

Throughout the month of February, the MLK scholars will be continuing their community activism volunteering at local soup kitchens every Saturday.

Caption For Photos: (From Left to Right, MLK Leadership Program Scholars, Heather Harris, Abdullah Al-Habshi, David Tapley, Devyon Johnson, Joshua Corpuz, Alexandra Piecupero, Isabella Fleetwood.)

Photo 2: Dancers from the Premier Dance Theater Group from Montclair, N.J perform a dance in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been developing students in mind, heart and spirit since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous majors, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton ReviewU.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success.  Since 2009, the University has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth in addition to an impressive 95-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have been awarded nearly 20 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors including a Rhodes Scholar.  In the past five years, the University has invested more than $133 million in new campus buildings and renovations.  And in 2015, Seton Hall announced plans for a new School of Medicine as well as launched a new College of Communication and the Arts.

A founding member of the new Big East Conference, the Seton Hall Pirates field 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports teams. The university’s beautiful main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles from New York City – offering its students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The university’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark. For more information, visit



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