Activities at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and across the broader Kalamazoo community are planned to honor slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., including a convocation, march, day of service, educational programs and presentations.

"The Courage to Dream: The Determination to Achieve" is the theme of this year's celebration which includes events throughout 2015 to honor the 52nd anniversary of King's visit to WMU in 1963. All events are free and open to the public. 

Wednesday, Jan. 14

WMU and Kalamazoo Public Schools Social Justice Book Bowl

5 p.m.
Linden Grove Middle School

Elimination competition for middle and high school students from surrounding area school districts.

Thursday, Jan. 15

"The Legacy of Dr. King 46 years later: Where are we on Affirmative Action? Are we living the same reality?"

11 a.m.
Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Student Commons Theater, Room 4240

Speaker: Buddy Hannah; poet, author and radio commentator for "Talk It Up," 95.5 FM in Kalamazoo.

Friday, Jan. 16

Community Reflection

11 a.m.
Stetson Chapel, Kalamazoo College

Saturday, Jan. 17

Public School Students' Visitation

9 a.m., registration
East Ballroom, Bernhard Center

Open to middle and high school students and parents and guardians from Kalamazoo Public Schools and surrounding school districts

Sunday, Jan. 18

29th Annual Northside Ministerial Alliance Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

4 p.m.
Galilee Baptist Church, 1216 N. Westnedge Ave.

Keynote: Dr. Forrest Harris, president of American Baptist College, Nashville, Tennessee.

Monday, Jan. 19

City of Kalamazoo Communitywide Day of Service

8 a.m.
City Hall, 241 W. South St.

Volunteer opportunities available.


10:50 a.m.
Stetson Chapel, Kalamazoo College

Keynote: Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit Branch NAACP; founder of the Freedom Institute for Economic, Social Justice and People Empowerment and the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee.

2 - 3 p.m.
Bernhard Center front desk lobby

Students are coordinating a poster party before the march. Meet at the Bernhard Center front desk lobby from 2 to 3 p.m. to participate. All are welcome!

March to MLK Park

Start at 3:30 p.m. at the flagpole at Kanley Chapel, WMU; to Kalamazoo College Red Square, corner of Thompson and Academy streets, at 4 p.m.; to MLK Park, corner of Rose Street and West Michigan Avenue, at 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 22

Teach-In: Police Violence, Racism and Social Justice

5:30 p.m.
Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations, Welborn Hall

5:30 to 6:15 p.m.

Reception hosted by the Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations, in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences.

6:15 to 6:30 p.m.

Teach-in begins with brief plenary presentations by Lew Walker and Tim Ready.

6:30 to 8 p.m.

Facilitated discussions led by WMU faculty members.

Monday, Jan. 26

"Social Justice and the Emerging New Age: A 21st Century Look at Martin Luther King’s WMU Speech”

4 to 6 p.m.
159 Bernhard Center

Dustin Van Pelt, Dustin Sigsbee and Michael Lindquist, philosophy graduate students. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society. Free.

Thursday, Feb. 26

"The Courage to Create—Group Poetry Reading on Confronting Injustice” poetry reading

6:30 to 9 p.m.
WMU Center for the Humanities, Knauss Hall, Room 2500

Semifinalists of the first annual "Courage to Create" poetry competition for students in grades 7 to 12 will perform poetry on the theme "Confronting Injustice." A reception for the student poets, K-12 teachers, local writers, competition judges and families will follow the event. Special guest orators and community leaders will also perform poetry at the event.

Sponsored by the WMU Center for the Humanities, WMU Lee Honors College, WMU Office for the Vice President for Research, WMU Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Saturday, April 18

Emerging HOPE Family Strengthening Program, 8th Annual Mental Health Forum

1 to 4 p.m.
VanDuesen Room, Kalamazoo Public Library, downtown branch

Keynote: Rev. Joan Cornelsion, executive director Pastoral Services at Hope Network Leadership Center, will speak about "Making Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities a Priority."

Following the keynote, participants can attend one of three educational free workshops: "Medicaid and Mental Health Rights, "Embracing People with Mental Illness and Developmental Disabilities within the Church" or "Visioning: Planning a Future For and With Your Family Member with a Dual Diagnosis."

Workshop registration and attendance is free. An application has been submitted for State Continuing Education Clock Hours and WMU Continuing Education Units. Credit will be offered for all workshops and keynote address, pending approval. There is a fee for both SCECHs and WMU CEUs of $15 per participant. More information: (269) 205-3386 or