Eastern Michigan University will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a week of community engagement programs focused on social justice throughout the campus from Thursday, January 14 to Monday, January 18. The five day campus celebration will also be EMU's 30th anniversary observing Martin Luther King, Jr. day on the campus, and collectively, as a national holiday.
On Monday, January 20th, 1986, the United States observed the first national holiday honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is also the day that Eastern Michigan University hosted its first MLK President’s Luncheon under the leadership of the late President John W. Porter. As we prepare to commemorate the 30th anniversary of this auspicious celebration, we do so with a keen awareness of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the knowledge that 2016 is also an election year. The combined significance of these important occasions allows us to address various social justice issues in a manner that is both relevant and timely to our students, campus and local community.
The theme chosen by the 2016 MLK Planning Committee comprised of EMU students, faculty and staff for the 30th Anniversary MLK events will be “And Justice For All?" A quote taken from the end of the Pledge of Allegiance that says “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” All of this year’s events are dedicated to question and address social injustices in a variety of ways throughout the week long celebrations, which are open to the public and campus community.
A complete schedule of events can be found below: or visit Eastern Michigan University.
— Patrik Holubik is the WEMU New Media Coordinator and social media producer for 89.1 WEMU. Contact him at 734.487.3363, on twitter @PatrikHolubik or email him firstname.lastname@example.org
THURSDAY, JANUARY 14:
· Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative March: Marchers will gather at 4:30 p.m. at the south entrance of the Student Center and walk across campus. Along the way, participants will reflect upon the historical significance of several civil rights movement milestones and accomplishments. Hot chocolate will be provided.
· Opening Celebration Discussion – “Why Your Voice Matters:”: A panel discussion that will talk about the history of voting in Michigan, along with state and federal voting laws and voter suppression and why every vote matters. The event will take place in the Student Center Auditorium, immediately following the March.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 15:
· MLK Day of Service: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Ballroom B of the Student Center. Student volunteers will check in and be assigned to help at one of thirteen service sites, such as Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, Avalon House or SOS Community Service. Students will help prepare, serve or deliver meals, prepare programs, clean and organize, deliver furniture and help remove invasive species of plants, to name a few activities. Free transportation will be provided to and from the Student Center to the service sites. Interested volunteers should complete the signup form at Signup for the MLK Day of Service.
· The Color of Drums Poetry Celebration: The EMU Poetry Society has put together a show that will speak truth to power though poetry and the spoken word. The show will bring back Poetry Society alumni, who will challenge social norms and expand ones understanding of whether justice is truly available. The event will take place in Pease Auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 16:
· "H2E" Student Talent Showcase and Scholarship Competition: EMU students will showcase their talents in honor of the Civil Rights Movement and compete for three scholarships. The event will be held in Pease Auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with a show time of 7 p.m. Free admission and open to the public.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 17:
· Community Event: 2 – 4 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. Come join the EMU student body and local community leaders as they engage in an interactive forum, using real life scenarios to address each of the six benchmarks of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.
MONDAY, JANUARY 18:
· MLK Breakfast: Campus and community members can start the day of events and programming by joining the MLK Planning Committee for a breakfast buffet. The breakfast will be served from 8 – 9:30 a.m. in room 300 of the Student Center. This event is free and open to the public.
· MLK Academic Program: “Courageous Conversations”: Thirteen sessions will be presented on topics such as “Ferguson, Public of Justice and the Dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” “Someone Please Call 911: Police Brutality and the Black Community” and “Enhancing Institutional Capacity: Transforming EMU into a Thought Leading Center.”The programs will be held from 9 – 11 a.m. in various rooms within the Student Center. Admission is free and the programs are open to the public.
· President's MLK Luncheon: The luncheon will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. During the luncheon, the University will present the MLK Humanitarian Award and the Evans Strand Scholarship Award to the recipients. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for faculty, staff and community members. Tickets can be purchased via phone at 487-2282, or in person at the EMU Convocation Center Ticket Office, the Student Center Ticket Office (located on the lower of the Student Center) or in the Quirk Building. Tickets are not available online. This event is open to the public.
· MLK Keynote Speaker Address: Following the luncheon, civil rights attorney Barbara Arnwine will speak from 1:30 – 3 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. Arnwine served as the executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She will address the significance of the Voting Rights Act and the importance of upholding the voting rights of marginalized people.
· CloseUp Theatre Troupe: CloseUp performances will examine the injustices in our society and create a space for the audience members to think, feel, question and hopefully act. Show times are from 4 – 5 p.m. and 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. Free admission.
· MLK Afterglow Celebration: Join MLK Planning Committee members for a wrap-up of the day’s events from 6 – 8 p.m. in room 300 of the Student Center. This event is free and open to the public. Includes complimentary refreshments.
Find highlights from the 2015 MLK Day Luncheon keynote, here: