Activities at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and across the broader Kalamazoo community are planned to honor civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including 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 throughout 2017. Most events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017

WMU and Kalamazoo Public Schools Social Justice Book Bowl

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

  • 5 p.m.
  • Linden Grove Middle School


Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017

"The Courage to Create" Group Poetry Reading on the transformative power of a unified dream

Semifinalists of the annual "Courage to Create" Poetry Competition for grades 7 to 12 is an exciting 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 in middle and high school students. The two primary categories of competition are “Free/Open Verse (Original Creation)” and Recitation (Performance of another poets work on the theme of "The Transformative Power of a Unified Dream."

  • 5 to 7 p.m.
  • WMU Multicultural Center in the Adrian Trimpe Building.

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017

Public School Students' Visitation

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

  • 9 to 9:30 a.m. registration
  • East Ballroom, Bernhard Center

monday, Jan. 16, 2017

Commemorative Walk

To honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the Kalamazoo Community is invited to participate in a commemorative walk. Participants will gather at the flagpoles in front of Kanley Chapel at WMU, then walk to Kalamazoo College's Red Square to join with additional participants. From there, the group will proceed to MLK Park to hear a short keynote address, brief remarks by college students, and a song led by community leaders.

  • 3:30 p.m. at the flagpoles 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.

Community Celebration

Immediately following the "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Walk" a community gathering will be held to reflect on the community-wide day of service and to celebrate the MLK holiday with local performers. Sponsored by Bronson Healthcare System and Borgess Medical Center. Contact Beth Washington at (269) 341-8672 or Sister Sue McCrery at (269) 226-7061 for more information.

  • 5 to 6 p.m., approximately 
  • The Radisson Plaza Hotel