For the sixth year in a row, the Georgia Tech community will partake of a community meal to discuss the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The meal is called Sunday Supper, even though it takes place during the workweek. The gathering evokes Sunday dinners of yore, when two or more generations of family and friends shared a comforting meal. It was a time to exchange stories, learn family histories, and discuss current events or concerns.
Conceived by the volunteer organization Points of Light, the Sunday Suppers take place around MLK Day each year. They bring together people from diverse backgrounds to a meal so that they can interact on a personal level and discuss matters that affect their communities.
Sirocus Barnes first attended a Sunday Supper in 2012 in Chicago. “I was so impressed with how the members of various communities came together and had meaningful conversations over a meal,” he recalls. “This is a national program in communities hosted throughout the U.S., and I wanted to bring it to our campus community.”
Through the AmeriCorps program at CEISMC (Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing), where he is a program director, Barnes organized the first MLK Sunday Supper at Georgia Tech, on January 2013. Since 2014, the event has become a part of Georgia Tech’s MLK celebration events.
Barnes continues to secure funding and facilitators for the event. Sponsors include CEISMC and the College of Sciences. Barnes works with the Georgia Tech MLK Celebration Planning Committee to connect the supper to the annual theme, which is “Actualizing the Dream: The Future of Nonviolent Political Protest” for 2018.
The gathering evokes Sunday dinners of yore, when two or more generations of family and friends shared a comforting meal. It was a time to exchange stories, learn family histories, and discuss current events or concerns.
College of Sciences Dean and Sutherland Chair Paul M. Goldbart has served as a facilitator in these suppers and looks forward participating in this year’s event. “I suspect that everyone who gathers for these suppers comes away feeling as I do: reenergized to fulfill our community’s commitment to the full embrace and celebration of diversity,” Goldbart says. “I imagine that these feelings will be even more pronounced this year, as we move toward the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination.”
MLK Sunday Supper is a unique event that brings staff, faculty, and students together toward Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a society where skin color is not a factor in how people are treated. “Meaningful conversations about serious issues facing our world, country, and community are important,” Barnes says. “I am thankful that the MLK Sunday Supper allows our campus community and opportunity to have those conversations.”
This year’s MLK Sunday Supper will take place on Thursday, Jan. 18, 6-8 PM, at the Bill Moore Student Success Center. To participate, register here.