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Events kick off two-month-long tribute to MLK

Jan. 9, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Expanding ties with the local community and focusing on education are themes of events scheduled for the 2009 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Western Michigan University. A forum with members from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on Saturday, Jan. 10, will launch the University's two-month-long observance honoring the slain civil rights activist.

An educational open house, speeches, discussions, film presentations and a march are also on tap for this year's theme, "Reclaiming Our Voice: Connecting With the Beloved Community." Activities are highlighted by almost a dozen key events surrounding the Monday, Jan. 19, national holiday honoring King.

Along with WMU, co-sponsors include Kalamazoo's Northside Ministerial Alliance, the city of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo College, Borgess Medical Center and Bronson Methodist Hospital.

2009 MLK Celebration events

  • "Forum with NAACP" at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, in the Multicultural Center of WMU's Trimpe Building. Dr. Lee Jones, president and executive director of Inspire Magazine, will lead a discussion on the social, economic and educational issues the nation faces and their impact within the community.
  • "Higher Education Open House" from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11, in WMU's Bernhard Center Ballroom was previously announced as an opportunity for high school students and their parents to learn about the benefits of going to college, how to take advantage of the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship program and the many educational opportunities available at WMU. Pre-registration is preferred. Call (269) 387-6313.
  • "Communitywide Day of Service" with on-site registration starting at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 19, at the Kalamazoo City Hall, 241 W. South St., in Kalamazoo. Volunteers will report to sites starting at 8:30 a.m., with service projects taking place at such locations as the Veteran's Administration Medical Center in Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo's Discovery Center, Douglass Community Association, Loaves and Fishes, Ministry with Community and Nature Center. Pre-register by Wednesday, Jan. 14. More information
  • "MLK Convocation" at 10:50 a.m. Monday, Jan. 19, at the Stetson Chapel at Kalamazoo College. Dr. Alton B. Pollard, dean and professor of religion and culture at Howard University School of Divinity, is the keynote speaker.
  • Parade/march to MLK Park, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19, at WMU's Kanley Chapel with stops along the way to pick up Kalamazoo College students and members of the Kalamazoo City Commission.
  • "Diversity Discussion with WMU Alumni of the MLK Era" from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, at WMU's Bernhard Center. University alumni panelists will engage students in an educational and interactive discussion about life during the time of King.
  • "MLK's Struggle for Economic Justice, Human Rights and Peace" from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, in Room 204 of WMU's Bernhard Center. WMU's Drs. Donald Cooney, professor of social work, and Ronald Kramer, professor of sociology, will discuss the last three years of King's life as he became an outspoken advocate for social change, specifically for economic justice, human rights and peace. The purpose of this program is to examine his resistance to war and his vision for social justice. The program will feature video excerpts and dramatic readings from King's speeches.
  • "Teaching About MLK and the Civil Rights Movement" from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, in Room 2304 of WMU's Sangren Hall. WMU professors and graduate students in the departments of English, history, anthropology and education will hold a presentation and workshops for K-12 teachers and future teachers to develop ideas and resources for connecting the issues of the civil rights movement to students in today's classrooms.
  • "Reclaiming Our Voice and Connecting the Community" from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, in the Multicultural Center of WMU's Trimpe Building. This film and the discussion following are centered on CNN's film series "Black in America" and examine its relevance within the context of this year's theme. WMU's Dr. Glinda Rawls and Dr. Mark St. Martin, both faculty members in the University Counseling and Testing Center, and Dr. Mariam Konate Deme, assistant professor of Africana studies, will discuss past and present issues facing the African-American community and explore the hopeful prospect of the future. The event will be repeated Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the same time and location.
  • "MLK in 1963 and 1968" from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, in the Multicultural Center of WMU's Trimpe Building. Dr. William Santiago-Valles, WMU associate professor of Africana studies, will discuss the difference between the ideas of King in 1963 and 1968 in the areas of economic violence, urban isolation and military intervention in the context of the 2004 film "Citizen King." This event repeats Thursday, Jan. 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Douglass Community Association.
  • "Cultural Competence in Research and Evaluation" from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, in Room 4405 of the Evaluation Center in WMU's Ellsworth Hall. This event provides a look at the Kalamazoo Wraps program and how researchers and evaluators develop inclusive, culturally competent studies where a wide variety of prospects are heard. Kalamazoo Wraps is a federally funded initiative to provide culturally competent, community-based services to children with mental health issues and their families.
  • "Legacy and Legitimacy: African Americans and the Supreme Court" at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, in Room 3301 of WMU's Friedmann Hall. Discussion will be on the nature of African Americans' unique relationship with the U.S. Supreme Court.

For more information on events that run through March, visit the WMU 2009 MLK Celebration online or call Tony Dennis at (269) 387-1247.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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