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

contact: Deanne Puca
| WMU News

MLK: The Transformative Power of a Unified Dream.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University continues its tradition of honoring slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with events planned in January on campus and across the broader Kalamazoo community.

The events include a convocation, march, day of service, educational programs and presentations. "The Transformative Power of a Unified Dream" is the theme of this year's celebration, which includes events that are free and open to the public.

Major MLK events

Wednesday, Jan. 11

  • WMU-Kalamazoo Public Schools Social Justice Book Bowl, 5 p.m., Linden Grove Middle School. Reading competition designed to encourage the love of reading and to promote literacy in students from Kalamazoo Public Schools. Each student is responsible for reading two books, including one fiction and one non-fiction selection. Students read the assigned books and prepare with their coaches and teammates for the competition.

Thursday, Jan. 12

  • "The Courage to Create" poetry competition awards reception, 5 to 7 p.m., WMU's Trimpe Building Multicultural Center. Writing and research competition designed to encourage the love of poetry and student research on the role of writers as agents for social change, as well as to promote literacy in students from Kalamazoo Public Schools. Categories of competition are Free-Open Verse (original creation) and Recitation (performance) of another poet's work on the MLK theme.

Friday, Jan. 13

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

Saturday, Jan. 14

  • Public School Students' Visitation, 9 a.m. registration, East Ballroom, Bernhard Center. 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. 15

  • Northside Ministerial Alliance 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, 4 p.m., Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 120 Roberson St., Kalamazoo. Keynote speaker is Bishop John Franklin White, presiding prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church and president of the AMEC Council of Bishops.

Monday, Jan. 16

  • City of Kalamazoo Communitywide Day of Service, meet at 8 a.m., City Hall, 241 W. South St. Volunteer opportunities available at
  • MLK Day Teach-In: "Addressing Threats to Justice, the Climate and Civil Rights: A Day of Learning and Action," 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 208-210 Bernhard Center. Nine sessions combine short inspirational speeches, focused discussion, action plans and connections to student, faculty and community organizations. WMU students, faculty and community members are invited to attend. For more information, visit
  • Convocation, 10:50 a.m., Stetson Chapel, Kalamazoo College.
  • Pre-MLK Walk Lunch Discussion, 1 p.m., WMU Kanley Chapel Dialogue Center. Participants gather to engage in discussion surrounding the differences and similarities between the Civil Rights era and today. Posters will be available for decorating as well as food and hot chocolate. For more information, contact (269) 387-2506 or
  • Commemorative Walk, 3:30 p.m. Participants gather at WMU Kanley Chapel, proceed to Kalamazoo College Red Square, then MLK Park in downtown Kalamazoo.
  • Community Celebration, immediately following Commemorative Walk, approximately 5 to 6 p.m., Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center. 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 Beth Washington, (269) 341-8672, or Sister Sue McCrery, (269) 226-5937.

Tuesday, Jan. 17

  • Dream Celebration, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Student Commons Theatre, Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Speaker John Davis will recite a rendition of one of MLK speeches, and students will read their writings on MLK.

Wednesdays, Jan. 18 to April 12

  • Lyceum Lecture Series Spring 2017, noon to 1 p.m., Lee Honors College lounge. Weekly seminars sponsored by the Lee Honors College on a variety of topics, given by WMU faculty and experts from the wider community on the theme "Fulfilling America's Promise: Racial Equality and Justice." Free and open. Lunch is not provided, but the audience is welcome to bring brown bag lunches to the seminars. Keynote address is March 29, 7 p.m., Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo. Speaker is Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, talking about her work to turn grief into advocacy for empowering youth.

Saturday, March 18

  • Emerging HOPE Family Strengthening Program 10th annual Mental Health Forum, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., VanDuesen Room, Kalamazoo Public Library downtown branch. The forum features a keynote address, "When My Father Left and a Stranger Returned Home: Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from a Military Daughter's Perspective" presented by Mona Lisa Watson, owner and senior consultant at Anom Diversity Consultants LLC. Following the keynote, participants can attend one of three educational workshops. Mental health agency booths will be set up allowing participants to view the booths, talk with mental health providers and gather information. State Continuing Education Clock Hours and WMU Continuing Education Units will be offered for all workshops and the keynote address. There is a fee for both SCECHs and WMU CEUs of $15 per participant. Registration is $25 with limited scholarships available. To register, visit For more information, contact Curtis or Pamela Robertson Sr. at (269) 205-3356.

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