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Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration
Pay What You Can, suggested contribution $20
Reception follows the program

In honor of the life and work of the Rev. Dr. King, the Chapel will host a conversation between civil rights activist and organizer Rev. Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. and Former Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao exploring the influence of Mahtma Gandhi on Dr. King, moderated by Melanie Lawson. Music performances will take place before and after the program, including by Indrajit Banerjee (sitar) and Shantilal Shah (tabla), and a local gospel choir. This program coincides with the Houston-wide Gandhi Sesquicentennial Celebration in partnership with the Mahatma Gandhi Library-Houston.

Presenter Bio : Rothko Chapel

About the Program Participants: Rev. Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., an ordained minister, is a longtime civil rights activist, organizer, and an authority on nonviolent social change. He co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, and he was a core leader of the civil rights movement in Nashville, TN, in 1960 and in Selma, AL, in 1965. He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962, and he was appointed by Martin Luther King, Jr. to be national program administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and national coordinator of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. Dr. LaFayette earned his B.A. from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, TN, and his Ed.M. and Ed.D from Harvard University. Dr. LaFayette has served as Distinguished Scholar in Residence and Director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Born in Kerala, India, Nirupama Menon Rao is a retired Indian diplomat, Foreign Secretary and Ambassador. She joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973. During her four-decade-long diplomatic career she held several important assignments. She was India’s first woman spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, the first woman high commissioner from her country to Sri Lanka, and the first Indian woman ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. She served as India’s Foreign Secretary from 2009-2011. At the end of that term, she was appointed India’s Ambassador to the United States where she served for a term of two years from 2011-2013. On her retirement from active diplomatic service, Ambassador Rao entered the world of academics with an appointment as Meera and Vikram Gandhi Fellow at the India Initiative at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Melanie Lawson is a native Houstonian and award-winning journalist. She started first as a full-time general assignments reporter at Channel 13, then went on to become the co-anchor of Live at 5 and Channel 13's midday show, Eyewitness News at 11am. Melanie also hosts a weekly Community Affairs program called "Crossroads", focusing on issues and events around Houston. She has won numerous awards for her reporting, including an Emmy for her coverage of President Clinton’s visit to South Africa, the only local reporter in the nation to make the trip. Lawson has interviewed a range of notable figures, including three U.S. Presidents, Henry Kissinger, the Dalai Lama, poet Maya Angelou, Destiny’s Child, George Foreman, Spike Lee, and Barbara Walt