Activities at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and across the broader Kalamazoo community are planned to honor civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including a convocation, march, day of service, educational programs and presentations.

"The Transformative Power of a Unified Dream" is the theme of this year's celebration which includes events throughout 2017. Most events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017

WMU and Kalamazoo Public Schools Social Justice Book Bowl

Elimination competition for middle and high school students from surrounding area school districts

  • 5 p.m.
  • Linden Grove Middle School


Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017

"The Courage to Create" Group Poetry Reading on the transformative power of a unified dream

Semifinalists of the annual "Courage to Create" Poetry Competition for grades 7 to 12 is an exciting writing and research competition designed to encourage the love of poetry, student research in the role of writers as agents for social change, and to promote literacy in middle and high school students. The two primary categories of competition are “Free/Open Verse (Original Creation)” and Recitation (Performance of another poets work on the theme of "The Transformative Power of a Unified Dream."

  • 5 to 7 p.m.
  • WMU Multicultural Center in the Adrian Trimpe Building.

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017

Public School Students' Visitation

Open to middle and high school students and parents and guardians from Kalamazoo Public Schools and surrounding school districts.

  • 9 to 9:30 a.m. registration
  • East Ballroom, Bernhard Center

sunday, Jan. 15, 2017

Northside Ministerial Alliance 31st Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

The keynote speaker is Bishop John Franklin White, presiding prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church and president of the AMEC Council of Bishops.

  • 4 p.m.
  • Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 120 Roberson St., Kalamazoo

monday, Jan. 16, 2017

Pre-MLK Walk Lunch Discussion

Kanley Chapel is opening its doors to students and participants of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Walk that begins at 3:30 p.m. at the WMU flagpoles. At 1 p.m. in Kanley Chapel's Dialogue Center, posters will be available for decorating for the commemorative walk, as well as food and hot chocolate, while we engage in deep and meaningful discussion surrounding the differences and similarities between the Civil Rights era and today. Please call (269) 387-2506 or email with questions.

  • 1 p.m.
  • Kanley Chapel's Dialogue Center

Commemorative Walk

To honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the Kalamazoo Community is invited to participate in a commemorative walk. Participants will gather at the flagpoles in front of Kanley Chapel at WMU, then walk to Kalamazoo College's Red Square to join with additional participants. From there, the group will proceed to MLK Park to hear a short keynote address, brief remarks by college students, and a song led by community leaders.

  • 3:30 p.m. at the flagpoles at Kanley Chapel, WMU; to Kalamazoo College Red Square, corner of Thompson and Academy streets, at 4 p.m.; to MLK Park, corner of Rose Street and West Michigan Avenue, at 4:30 p.m.

Community Celebration

Bronson Healthcare and Borgess Ascension invite the community to a party immediately following the "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Walk" at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. Come in out of the cold and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while viewing the transforming highlights of the week and listen to local entertainment. Contact Beth Washington at (269) 341-8672 or Sister Sue McCrery at (269) 226-7061 for more information.

  • 5 to 6 p.m., approximately 
  • The Radisson Plaza Hotel

tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

The Dream Luncheon

Kalamazoo Valley Community College hosts speaker John Davis. He will recite a speech rendition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. KVCC students will read their work on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Lyceum in the Student Commons at Kalamazoo Valley Community College