Martin Luther King, Jr., Multiculturally

, Jason Livingood, Leave a comment

At Oregon State University’s two-week long MLK celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, the school’s Multicultural Affairs office will screen the documentary “Scout’s Honor” and feature an exhibition of Joel Preston Smith’s photography of Iraq.

“Scout’s Honor” is an award-winning 2001 documentary, that, in the words of its official website, “traces the conflict between the anti-gay policies of the Boy Scouts of America and the broad-based movement by many of its members to overturn them.” Joel Preston Smith is a radical leftist photojournalist and a delegate of the “Iraq Peace Team” (, who lived and worked in Iraq from January to February 2003

But what in the world do these have to do with celebrating the birth of Martin Luther King Jr.? To try to find the answer to this, Campus Report Online contacted the Office of Multicultural Affairs at OSU and spoke with its Director, Dr. Phyllis Lee.

“We give a pretty broad definition of what Mr. King represented. We believe that Mr. King spoke for everyone,” Dr. Lee told CRO. “He speaks of equality, justice, peace and freedom. Loving not hating. Making peace and not war.”

In short, the answer is that the steering committee organizing OSU’s celebration wants to try to celebrate the values they believe Dr. King stood for. And so they have chosen to show “Scout’s Honor” and the Joel Preston Smith exhibit because they believe they promote King’s values.

A steering committee is formed each year to plan the coming year’s MLK celebrations and assign it a certain theme. According to Dr. Lee, there is broad racial and religious representation in the committee. This year the theme for the celebration is “Building the Dream: Reaching Each Other, Teaching Each Other.”