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Jan. 9, 2023

MSU’s 43rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration launches this week

The 43rd Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration at Michigan State University starts Thursday, Jan. 12 with events through Friday, Jan. 20. MSU students, faculty and staff, as well as the local community, are invited to participate in a wide variety of events happening throughout the week that honor the life and legacy of Dr. King. 

This year marks the return of the in-person Community Unity Dinner at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, a flagship event for the MLK celebration. Taking place on Thursday, Jan. 12, this year’s keynote speaker is LeConté Dill, associate professor in MSU’s Department of African American and African Studies. Joining Dill for remarks are MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., and Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D., vice president and chief diversity officer at MSU. 

“Dr. King’s message remains relevant and continues to provide our community, state and nation with the wisdom and courage to pursue, with purpose and perseverance, a world of justice and equity,” says Bennett. “I am looking forward to another commemorative celebration filled with incredible opportunities to honor Dr. King’s legacy and inspire the MSU community.”  

The MLK Planning Committee works to coordinate a broad variety of events throughout the celebration with representation from across the MSU community and support from the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. Ebony Lucas, MLK planning committee co-chair and consultant with MSU’s WorkLife Office, invites the community to honor Dr. King’s life throughout the celebration. 

“It is important for us to collectively celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King because his legacy includes us all.” Lucas said. “His aspirations personified his belief in this quote from Thomas Jefferson, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ Dr. King worked for the collective good of us all, and his dream for America was for us to be one country of one people.”

Brian Johnson, MLK planning committee co-chair and assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in James Madison College, echoes Lucas and calls on the community to use this celebration as an opportunity to “reflect on how to best further Dr. King’s legacy. Celebrating Dr. King’s holiday not only allows us to reflect upon his many contributions, but it also provides a time for collective inspiration for how we can continue to advance social justice. We are confident that participants in this year’s commemorative activities will leave appreciative of Dr. King’s past contributions and inspired by how they can further his goals.”

Guided by this year’s theme of “Living Purpose, Promise, and Perseverance Now,” the upcoming schedule of events includes highlights, such as the:

  • Annual MLK Commemorative March, starting at 9 a.m. at Beaumont Tower on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16.
  • Toward Freedom film series presented by MSU Libraries and WKAR Public Media, showcasing films that speak on perseverance through adversity.
  • Stuff the Library book drive, benefiting Flint Community Schools (learn more and support the drive).
  • College of Music’s Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer and Protest concert at Fairchild Theatre on Jan. 15, featuring the MSU Jazz Orchestra and other special guests. 

View the MLK events calendar for a complete listing of event information and details.

By: Kristina Beatty

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