MLK Day Celebration to include speakers, art project, volunteering

December 19, 2017 By Xai Xiong

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech during the Aug. 28, 1963, march on Washington, D.C. Wikimedia Commons

UW-Madison students, faculty and staff are invited to the 2018 UW–Madison MLK Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 22 from 3 to 8 p.m. in Memorial Union.

The event will recognize, celebrate, and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the many ways UW–Madison students, faculty and staff embody Dr. King’s spirit of service.

“MLK is a great time for us, as an institution and in our communities, to reflect on where and how we make social change,” said Gabe Javier, director of the Multicultural Student Center. “I hope that participants discover new ideas or new ways of thinking about how to have dialogue across cultural divides.”

The official holiday is Jan. 15 but will be celebrated on campus a week later, when most of the students return.

With this being UW–Madison’s second year celebrating King’s legacy, it is an opportunity for participants to expand on last year’s celebration which featured student speakers, conversations on diversity and service, a social justice art project by Wheelhouse Studios and a food drive to support The Open Seat Food Pantry.

This year’s celebration will have participants register for specific breakouts either doing direct service or being engaged in a justice dialogue, a free dinner, and a keynote student panel. Participants can register on the MLK Day Celebration website.

“With a packed event last year, and this being our [UW-Madison’s] second go round, I am super excited about all the opportunities for our campus community to celebrate King’s legacy,” said Karla Foster, Program Coordinator of the Black Cultural Center.  “Our committee worked tirelessly to ensure this MLK Day celebration had a strong social justice lens and student-centered approach.”

The event will begin with participants leaving from Memorial Union to participate in a direct service volunteer opportunity hosted by Second Harvest Food Bank and Reach-A-Child from 3 to 6 p.m. A concurrent justice dialogue will occur from 4 to 6 p.m. All participants will then come together for dinner after the end of both breakouts.

To cap off the celebration, there will be a keynote student panel. The panel will include one student representative talking about Economic Justice, Racial Justice, Queer & Trans Justice, Food Justice, and DACA.

“This celebration really is the result of a collaborative vision created by folks from the Multicultural Student Center, the Black Cultural Center, Center for the First-Year Experience and most importantly, student leaders,” said Megan Miller, Morgridge Center for Public Service Assistant Director of Civic Engagement. “I’m most excited about attending the student keynote panel during dinner.”

The UW–Madison MLK Day Celebration is made possible with the generous support of the Office of the Provost, the Division of Student Life, the School of Education, and Wisconsin Union Directorate – Society and Politics.