2019 MLK Celebration activities
"But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right." – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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 essence 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 include Gryphon Place, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Ascension Borgess Hospital 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.
2019 MLK celebration theme
“Kneeling for Justice Then and Now: As You Choose”