Community, campus programs to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Contact: Deanne Puca
Photo of Martin Luther King Jr. and supporters kneeling with the word Kneeling for Justice, then and now: as you choose,

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University continues its tradition of honoring slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with events beginning Wednesday, Jan. 16, on campus and across the broader Kalamazoo community and continuing through February.

Free and open events include a convocation, march, day of service, educational programs and presentations. "Kneeling for Justice, Then and Now: As You Choose" is this year's theme.

Wednesday, Jan. 16

  • WMU and surrounding school districts Social Justice Art Competition and Book Bowl, 5 p.m., Linden Grove Middle School. Art competition features original student artwork that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and exemplifies the celebration’s annual theme. Fifteen selected art competition pieces will be on display, and judges select three winning pieces. The MLK Social Justice Book Bowl is a reading competition designed to encourage the love of reading and to promote literacy in students who are responsible for reading two books and prepare with their coaches and teammates.

Friday, Jan. 18

  • Community Reflection, 11 a.m., Kalamazoo College Stetson Chapel. Speakers include Kalamazoo College students, faculty, staff and administrators.

Saturday, Jan. 19

  • Public School Students' Visitation, 8:45 a.m. registration and community organization tables, WMU Bernhard Center East Ballroom. High school and middle school students and families have the opportunity to attend a variety of fun and educational workshops. The event is open to families from Kalamazoo Public Schools and surrounding school districts.
  • MLK Memorabilia Exhibit, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., WMU Bernhard Center second floor lobby.

Sunday, Jan. 20

  • Northside Ministerial Alliance 33nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, 4 p.m., Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Keynote speaker is Rev. Allison M. Henderson-Brooks.

Monday, Jan. 21

  • City of Kalamazoo Communitywide Day of Service, meet at 8 a.m., Kalamazoo City Hall. Volunteer opportunities available at Gryphon Place.
  • MLK Day Convocation, 10:50 a.m., Kalamazoo College Stetson Chapel. For more information, contact Natalia Carvalho-Pinto at (269) 337-7208 or
  • Teach-in: Bending a Knee for Justice, "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice," 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. WMU Bernhard Center, Room 210. Sessions combine short inspirational speeches, focused discussion, action plans and connections to student, faculty and community organizations. For more information, contact Dr. Allen Webb at (269) 387-2560 or
  • Pre-MLK Walk Discussion, 1:45 p.m., WMU Kanley Chapel Dialogue Center. Participants discuss current events related to racial inequity through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From A Birmingham Jail." Posters will be available for decorating as well as food and hot chocolate. Hosted and led by Chris Sligh, director, Office of Student Engagement, and Kathleen Robertson King, campus minister at University Campus Ministries. For accommodations and further information, contact King at or (269) 387-2560.
  • Commemorative Walk, 3:30 p.m. Instead of walking, participants will take a bus from WMU Bernhard Center and Kalamazoo College Red Square to the MLK Park. After the MLK Park, buses will return to Kalamazoo College and WMU. One bus will take participants to an event at the Kalamazoo State Theatre at 5 p.m. A 6 p.m. bus will return to Kalamazoo College and WMU.
  • Community Celebration, immediately following Commemorative Walk, start at approximately 5 to 6 p.m., Kalamazoo State Theatre. Hot chocolate and cookies provided while viewing highlights of the week as well as local entertainment. Sponsored by Bronson Healthcare and Borgess Ascension. For more information, contact Mikka Dryer, (269) 341-8323, or Sister Sue McCrery, (269) 226-5937.

Tuesday, Jan. 22

  • Community Celebration for National Day of Racial Healing, 5:30 to 8 p.m., location to be announced. Contact Lanna Lewis at
  • Presentation to Dr. Lewis Walker Youth Social Justice Award Winners, 7 p.m., Kalamazoo City Hall. Presentation to recipients during the scheduled City of Kalamazoo Commission meeting.

Tuesday, Feb. 5

  • Interactive Program, "Beyond the Dream," 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Texas Township Campus, Room 4240. KVCC's Office of Diversity and Inclusion invites the public to a free program that examines the perspectives of Dr. King and his impact on our nation, particularly throughout the South in 1968. Participants have the opportunity to listen, reflect, and share thoughts and feelings and opinions regarding Dr. King's philosophies and ideas. For accommodations and further information, contact Trice Batson at

Wednesday, Feb. 20

  • "The Courage to Create" poetry reading and competition awards reception, 4 p.m., WMU Trimpe Building Multicultural Center. This 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. Open to middle and high school students, the program exposes them to various genres of poetry and provides a forum for families, writers, literacy experts, and higher education faculty, staff and students from local higher education institutions to build a supportive community to foster youths' creative writing and research activities.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.