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

Contact: Deanne Puca
Photo of a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. that reads Injustice for One is Injustice for All

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University continues its tradition of honoring slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with events beginning Friday, Jan. 17, on campus and across the broader Kalamazoo community and continuing into February.

Free and open events include a convocation, day of service, laying of the wreath ceremony, educational programs and presentations. "Injustice for One is Injustice for All" is this year's theme.


Friday, Jan. 17

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

Saturday, Jan. 18

  • Public School Students' Visitation, 8:45 a.m. registration. East Ballroom, Bernhard Center, WMU. 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 the surrounding school districts.

Sunday, Jan. 19

  • Northside Ministerial Alliance 34rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, 4 p.m., Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 120 Roberson St., Kalamazoo. Keynote speaker is Rev. Nathan Johnson, senior pastor of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit.

Monday, Jan. 20

  • Kalamazoo Communitywide Day of Service, 8 a.m., Kalamazoo City Hall, 241 W. South St. Sponsored by the City of Kalamazoo in partnership with Gryphon Place, sign up for a volunteer opportunity at For more information, contact Jennifer VanOosterhout at or (269) 381-1510, ext. 242.
  • Convocation, 11 a.m., Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College. Keynote speaker is Dr. Barbara Ransby, historian, writer and longtime political activist. For more information, contact Natalia Carvalho-Pinto at (269) 337-7208 or
  • Teach-In, "Truth Power: Misinformation and the Threat to Inclusive Democracy," 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., WMU Bernhard Center, Room 210. Event will feature brief presentations on current topics related to equity and justice, combined with opportunities for networking of students, faculty, community members and justice-centered nonprofit organizations. For more information, contact Dr. Allen Webb at (269) 387-2560 or
  • Laying of the Wreath Ceremony, 4:45 p.m., MLK Park, 507 N. Rose St., Kalamazoo.
  • Community Celebration, doors open at 5 p.m., program from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick Ave., Kalamazoo. Artwork from top 15 finalists from the Social Justice Art Competition will be displayed. Sponsored by Bronson Healthcare and Ascension Borgess Hospital. For more information, contact Mikka Dryer, (269) 341-8323.

Tuesday, Jan. 21

  • National Day of Racial Healing, 2 p.m. Includes Healing Circles and 6 p.m. Truth Talks and Community Celebration. More information
  • Presentation, Dr. Lewis Walker Social Justice Youth Award winners, 7 p.m., Kalamazoo City Hall, 241 W. South St. Presentation to award recipients during the scheduled City of Kalamazoo Commission meeting. For accommodations and more information, contact Patricia Vargas at or (269) 337-8047.

Wednesday, Jan. 22

  • Lecture, "A Refugee Girl's Journey Toward Healing," 11 a.m., Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Texas Township Campus, Room 4240. Speaker is Mee Moua.
  • Performance, "Radical Poetry with Ebony Stewart," 6 p.m., Hicks Student Center, Lower Atrium, Kalamazoo College. Ebony Stewart is an international touring poet and performance artist. Event is free and open to the public. Light dinner provided.

Friday, Jan. 24, to Sunday, Feb. 9

  • WMU Theatre Performance, "Blood at the Root," York Theatre, Gilmore Theatre Complex. Drama is based on the true story of the "Jena Six;" six black students who were initially charged with attempted murder for a school fight after being provoked with nooses hanging from a tree on campus. This bold new play by Dominique Morisseau examines the miscarriage of justice, racial double standards, the crises in relations between men and women of all classes and, as a result, the shattering state of black family life. Panel discussion following the 7:30 p.m. performance is on Saturday, Feb. 1.

Monday, Jan. 27

  • WMU and Kalamazoo Public Schools' Social Justice Art Competition and Book Bowl, 4:30 p.m., Linden Grove Middle School. The MLK Social Justice Art competition features original student artwork that honors Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and exemplifies the celebration’s annual theme. The MLK Social Justice Book Bowl is a reading competition designed to encourage the love of reading, promote literacy and immerse students in topics of social justice. Students read the assigned books and prepare with their coaches and teammates for the competition. The final competition will be held Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Tuesday, Feb. 4

  • Interactive program, "Beyond the Dream III," a deeper look at the perspectives of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. including pre-event networking from 10 to 11 a.m., Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Texas Township Campus, Room 4240. KVCC's Office of Diversity and Inclusion invites the public to a free program to listen, reflect and share their thoughts, feelings and opinions regarding Dr. King’s philosophies and ideas. Participants are invited for food and fellowship during this program. For more information, contact Trice Batson at or Kevin Lavender Jr. at

Wednesday, Feb. 5

  • Social Justice Book Bowl Elimination Competition, 4:30 p.m., Linden Grove Middle School. This event is a follow-up to the competition held Monday, Jan. 27.

Wednesday, Feb. 19

  • "The Courage to Create" poetry celebration, 4 p.m., Adrian Trimpe Building, WMU Multicultural Center. Poets in middle school and high school read their work as a celebration of creativity and justice. Keynote speaker is Buddy Hannah, local poet, artist and retired radio host of Kalamazoo's "The Touch." Student-poets will also read with featured local poets, Jennifer Clark, William Craft and Elizabeth Kerlikowske, president of the Poetry Society of Michigan. For more information, contact William Craft at

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