Thurman Center ambassador to speak at MLK Day event
Roger Chen, a Howard Thurman Center student ambassador, will read from King’s work at BU’s celebration.
Roger Chen (ENG’07), a student ambassador at the Howard Thurman Center, was eager to participate in this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Day celebration. Not only does he believe in King’s message, but without King, he says, student organizations that promote unity and diversity might not exist at all.
“The student ambassadors program and the Howard Thurman Center are almost a result of his movement,” says Chen, who will be reading some of King’s work at the University’s 1 p.m. celebration on Monday, January 16, at the GSU’s Metcalf Hall. “It set off a chain reaction of groups looking for social justice. If not for Martin Luther King, I’m not sure where the United States would be.”
Chen is one of 11 student ambassadors who work with center staff to plan cultural events throughout the year. As the Howard Thurman ambassador, he leads the effort to educate the BU community about Thurman (Hon.’67), who became the first black dean at a predominantly white U.S. college when he was appointed dean of Marsh Chapel in 1953. Thurman’s influence extended across racial and religious boundaries and one of those he influenced was King.
An electrical engineering major from Framingham, Mass., Chen became involved with the center after participating in the Common Ground orientation program, which focuses on discussions about race and ethnicity. When he met center director Katherine Kennedy, he realized that he could help the University community continue to explore these issues.
“There’s a lot of diversity on the BU campus, but it seems like a lot of groups are really self-segregating,” he says. “I wanted to work in an organization that would help to break down these barriers. It would be nice if people expanded their horizons and got to know other people.”
Chen is also a member of the Asian American Christian Fellowship and a tutor for the College of Engineering.