Upcoming convocations: Isaac Murphy and Raising Awareness for World AIDS Day
Heather Walls ’11 is hoping to make World AIDS Day a bigger deal on Centre Colleges’s campus.
World AIDS Day is celebrated around the globe on Dec. 1 each year. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and is a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
Volunteering Sparks Interest
Walls’s interest in AIDS prevention grew after she volunteered with World Camp, Inc. “World Camp is an international service organization that tries to empower rural schools in Malawi, Africa, to tackle difficult problems like HIV/AIDS, deforestation and gender relations by providing information and creative teaching workshops,” she says. “I participated in this program as a volunteer two summers ago and was very impressed with their community focus and the fact that it was started by college age students 10 years ago.”
“Ever since participating with World Camp, I’ve been really interested in spreading awareness about how college students can help inform communities about AIDS, and I’m hoping to make World AIDS Day a bigger deal on campus,” she continues.
To prime the Centre community for World AIDS Day, Walls is sponsoring the event World AIDS Day: Fighting HIV Worldwide on Nov. 29. Jesse Pipes, one of the co-founders of World Camp for Kids, will talk about his experiences establishing an international service organization in Malawi, as well as the difficulties of addressing HIV in rural communities. World Camp currently offers volunteer programs in Malawi; Tela, Honduras; and Ahmedabad, India.
The event, World AIDS Day: Fighting HIV Worldwide, will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 29, in Weisiger Theatre. The program is free and open to the public.
Authors to Discuss Two Literary Perspectives on Isaac Burns Murphy
Isaac Burns Murphy (1861-1896) is considered one of the greatest jockeys in American history. He had a 44 percent victory rate that has never been matched and many think will never be surpassed. He won three Kentucky Derbys, and, in 1884, paired his Derby win with a win at the Oaks and Clark Handicap, the only jockey in history to do so.
Murphy also happened to be African American. He was the first and one of only two African American jockeys to be inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
“Isaac Murphy would be the equivalent of Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan in his time period,” says University of Kentucky English professor Frank X. Walker.
Walker and Patsi Trollinger, a local author, both wrote books about Isaac Murphy. Those books became the basis for a state-wide literacy program called “The Isaac Murphy Everybody Reads Project,” designed in cooperation with the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences and a group of educators from around the state as a statewide literacy project to coincide with the 2010 World Equestrian Games.
Trollinger’s book, Perfect Timing, is for children. “I set out to create a heroic story about Isaac for young readers,” says Trollinger.
Walker’s book is a collection of poems that uses the voices of Murphy and his wife, parents and trainer to chronicle Murphy’s journey to become the most celebrated African American jockey.
“Frank and I brought contrasting cultural and ethnic backgrounds to our studies of Isaac Murphy. That difference was compounded by different literary visions we later pursued,” says Trollinger.
“While we’ve done quite a few events already, we know this one will be special because of the potential to explore certain topics with great depth and complexity. The December 2 event will be the first where we’ll have enough time—and the right audience—to talk, and argue, about the individual view that each person brings to his or her encounter with history,” says Trollinger.
One hundred copies of Walker’s book will be given away at the Danville/Boyle County Public Library and Centre College’s Grace Doherty Library, and Trollinger’s book, which is not yet available, will be on reserve. Attendees are encouraged to read the books before the event.