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Lecture by Anti-Hate Activist Among College’s ‘Dream Week’ Events

An award-winning poet, author and educator will be the featured speaker as Pennsylvania College of Technology observes Dream Week 2015 (Jan. 17-22), a celebration of the life and values of Martin Luther King Jr.

The free lecture by Jason Carney, of Dallas, Texas, a four-time National Poetry Slam finalist and co-founder of the Young DFW Writers, will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19, in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium. A graduate of Wilkes University’s Master of Fine Arts Program for Creative Writing, Carney appeared on three seasons of “Russell Simmons’ Def Poets” on HBO.

Carney’s campus appearance will include readings from his poems and from his memoir, “Starve the Vulture,” which was published earlier this month and has been optioned for a film adaptation. Copies will be available to purchase in The College Store or on the evening of the event; a book-signing will be held following the lecture.

Jason Carney
Jason Carney

“Jason Carney’s performance is the pinnacle event of Dream Week,” said Sara H. Ousby, associate director of student activities for diversity and cultural life. “His story of overcoming homophobia and racism are central to his powerful poetry and memoir, which address how racism and prejudice are passed through the generations.

“Challenging students and individuals to investigate the roots of their prejudice is essential to bring change. Jason’s story can inspire us all to consider who we are and what we value.”

Dream Week events are planned in conjunction with the Beloved Community Council, comprising Penn College and a number of other entities: STEP AmeriCorps, the Corporation for National and Community Service, Lycoming College, the YWCA, City Alliance Church, United Churches of Lycoming County and HealThySelf.

“Observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Penn College is one of the many ways that we recognize his life and legacy,” Ousby said. “In 2015, we are extending our observance of MLK Day to Dream Week, to include service and educational events.”

This year’s commemoration also includes a Peace Walk and Day of Service, beginning on campus at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. The procession, which is open to the public, will begin at the Carl Building Technologies Center and travel to Firetree Place at 600 Campbell St. Upon arrival, there will be a brief welcome before participants package personal care items for service agencies.

The Beloved Community Council organized the collection drive and accepted monetary donations to purchase those items, which will all stay in the Williamsport community.

From 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, in Penn’s Inn (on the second floor of the Bush Campus Center), the public is welcome to attend a roundtable discussion on the meaning of King’s “Beloved Community” of nonviolence and inclusiveness.

For more about Penn College, call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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