Inspiration leads to a timely MLK dedication

I attended our monthly DEI Committee meeting January 15 that had Emory’s chief diversity officer, Dr. Carol Henderson, as the guest speaker.  Dr. Henderson’s talk was one of review, having completed her first semester here at Emory. She spoke about meetings with student groups, executive leadership, campus life and human resources. She talked of climate and culture, professional development in the context of awareness and consistency as well as accountability becoming top priorities.

I found Dr. Henderson’s commentary to be thought-provoking and compelling. She reminded us that January 15 was MLK’s actual birthday and asked us what Emory Libraries were doing to commemorate events highlighting his work. Dr. Henderson challenged us to be active at seeking ways to celebrate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

As I was leaving, I was reminded of the Coursera class our ATS production team recorded back in 2015: “From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement.” Although I had taken the course online five years ago much of it stayed with me, owing to how well done it was. I wondered if there was a way to show it in a condensed version, in a public space over the Martin Luther King Week. The idea was a simple kiosk, with a looping track, and microphones for those wanting to hear it.

I posed the idea to one of the original production team members, Shannon O’Daniel, and in an hour she had produced a condensed version that could be watched in 3 to 5-minute intervals. The video has such rich visuals that audio wasn’t even an absolute necessity.

The video file was over 30 gigs, so we needed a large storage device and one of my co-workers donated a multi-terabyte external drive that did the trick.

The next step was to find a monitor and headphones…who better to contact than the Campus and Community Relations Exhibit Team?  I consulted with Kathy Dixson and her team about possibilities, and happily everyone was on board.

Finally, we needed to get approval before commencing and our Dean and University Librarian Yolanda Cooper said “Yes!” In three days, the task went from idea to delivery, with the short film running at the entrance to the spiral staircase on the 2nd floor of Woodruff Library.

I want to thank Shannon for getting caught up in this right away, a great co-worker for the hard drive that worked, Kathy for her willingness and encouragement, John Klingler for getting all the right equipment together and loading the short course to play in a loop, Caroline Corbitt for the awesome signage, and Yolanda for approval on a last minute idea.

You can take the course online: (type “non-violence” in the Search box and the class will come right up).

Here’s a YouTube preview/introduction:

I will gladly share the short version with you (bring your own terabyte hard drive please).

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