This January Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn., commemorated Martin Luther King (MLK) Day by giving its students an opportunity to grow in cultural awareness. “One of the great things about our student body is that they’re willing to listen because they want to learn so they can do their best,” says Aaron Robinson, cultural diversity coordinator at MLC.
MLC planned a day full of activities for the students, including a special worship service, workshops, social simulations, and thought-provoking films. Fletcher and Patricia James, members at Divine Peace, Largo, Md., presented the keynote address. “They have an education background which is why we chose them to speak about what that means for them as African-American Christians serving the community,” says Robinson.
The day provided lots of opportunities for discussion, conversations which Robinson wants to continue. “There were 30 questions [from presentations] that we didn’t even get to answer.” He is planning mini discussions during the semester to continue digging into the issues. “I don’t want to let the momentum of the conversation die but continue to engage the students in a meaningful way,” says Robinson.
He also is taking five students of color to visit the James family and Divine Peace over spring break. He hopes to visit other WELS multicultural ministries in the future. “What I want to do is expand the student body’s understanding of the culturally diverse ministries we have in WELS,” he says.
He continues, “The reason we use days like this to talk about culture is not to divide but so we can better serve. I want to continue the conversation and these moments—meeting the students where they’re at—so they can grow as God wants them to grow and minister to those who are not like them.”
Robinson is part of a team that staffs MLC’s Cultural Engagement Center, which works to welcome and support diverse students, provide opportunities for cross-cultural understanding, and promote community on campus.
Volume 109, Number 03
Issue: March 2022