Group photo of MLK event participants

2017 MLK CELEBRATION activities

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically...Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.” —Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

President Dunn marching with students

Watch the social Justice Book Bowl video WATCH THE MLK CELEBRATION VIDEO

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration history

For many years, Western Michigan University’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee organized a celebration of Dr. King’s life, work and commitment to social justice. The Northside Ministerial Alliance had annually held a similar communitywide event at Chenery Auditorium.

In an impressive showing of town-gown partnership, the two organizations agreed to merge their events for a spectacular 2002 celebration. Since that time, the two have continued to work collaboratively to establish a celebration for Kalamazoo residents that highlights and captures the essences of the life and legacy of Dr. King.

During the ensuing years, several major events and numerous smaller ones have been built into what has become an annual celebration that launches in January each year. The communitywide Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration continues to grow and evolve. Along with Northside Ministerial Alliance, WMU and the City of Kalamazoo, key sponsors also includes Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Borgess Medical Center and Bronson Healthcare System.

WMU’s MLK Celebration Committee

WMU's Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee is dedicated to furthering social justice by engaging in meaningful education, research and service initiatives, and coordinating events throughout the campus and Kalamazoo communities.

In 1968, Dr. King observed that “one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands.”

Through its various outreach programs, workshops and events, the MLK Committee acknowledges that the University community must be provided with the tools that will enable us to participate actively in the urgent struggle for social justice that is ongoing in our region, our nation and our world.

2017 MLK celebration theme

The Transformative Power of a Unified Dream

The 2017 MLK Celebration theme, The Transformative Power of a Unified Dream, was formed based on the principle that we are stronger as a community in advancing social justice and addressing historical inequality in the non-violent and empathetic manner promoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This theme also speaks to the immediacy of issues regarding equity that affect community members in Kalamazoo and its surrounding area. Art, education, faith and health are highlighted within the theme.