Events for 2019

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

"Kneeling for Justice Then and Now: As You Choose" is the theme of this year's celebration which includes events throughout 2019. Most events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The quote from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that inspired the theme is "But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right."

For accommodations and contact information, please refer to each event list below.

Wednesday, Jan. 16

WMU, Kalamazoo Public and surrounding school districts Social Justice Art Competition and WMU and Kalamazoo Public Schools Social Justice Book Bowl

Art Competition: Art competition featuring original student artwork that honors Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy and exemplifies the celebration's annual theme. Art often has a way of unifying people and bringing sensitive issues to light. This competition encourages young people to find creative and artistic ways of bringing the Kalamazoo community together around a common purpose. Fifteen selected art competition pieces will be on display. Judges will select three winning pieces.
 
Book Bowl: Reading competition designed to encourage the love of reading and to promote literacy in Kalamazoo Public Schools. The program exposes young people to different genres of young adult literature focused on social justice in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 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.
 
For accommodations and further information, contact Tiffany B. White (tiffany.white@wmich.edu, 387-6327).
 
Both competitions begin in October and culminate in January.
  • 5 p.m. (Refreshments served at 5:30 p.m.)
  • Linden Grove Middle School

WATCH THE SOCIAL JUSTICE BOOK BOWL VIDEO

Friday, Jan. 18

Community reflection

The speakers include Kalamazoo College students, faculty, staff and administrators.

For accommodations and further information, contact Natalia Carvalho-Pinto, Kalamazoo College, (269) 337-7208 or ncarvalh@kzoo.edu.

  • 11 a.m.
  • Stetson Chapel at Kalamazoo College

Saturday, Jan. 19

Public school students' visitation

Middle school and high school students and families will have the opportunity to attend a variety of fun and educational workshops. Activities will be available for middle school ages and above. Community tables and the MLK Memorabilia Exhibit will be available in the Bernhard Center. Competitions include a WMU and Kalamazoo Public School Social Justice Book Bowl; Social Justice Art Competition open to all middle and high school students; and a Courage to Create Poetry Competition, open to all middle and high school students. The event is open to families from Kalamazoo Public Schools and surrounding school districts. 

For accommodations and further information, contact Scott Hennessy at scott.hennessy@wmich.edu.

  • 8:45 a.m. registration, community organization tables, and MLK memorabilia display
  • Bernhard Center ballroom

MLK Memorabilia Exhibit

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Bernhard Center, second floor lobby, East Ballroom

Sunday, Jan. 20

Northside Ministerial Alliance 33rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

The keynote speaker is Rev. Allison M. Henderson-Brook.

For accommodations and further information, contact (269) 388-6227 or nmakalamazoocity.org.

  • 4 p.m.
  • Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 120 Roberson St., Kalamazoo

Monday, Jan. 21

City of Kalamazoo Communitywide Day of Service

For accommodations and further information, contact Austin Bradford, volunteer engagement and event assistant (abradford@gryphon.org or (269) 381-1510 ext. 225).

  • 8 a.m.
  • Meet at City Hall, 241 W. South St.

Convocation

For accommodations and further information, contact Natalia Carvalho-Pinto, Kalamazoo College, (269) 337-7208 or ncarvalh@kzoo.edu.

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

MLK Day Teach-In: Bending a Knee for Justice

"The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." Martin Luther King Jr. The teach-in includes short inspirational speeches, focused discussion, action plans connects to students, faculty and community organizations.

For accommodations and further information, contact Allen Webb at allen.webb@wmich.edu or at 387-2605.

  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • 210 Bernhard Center

Pre-MLK Walk Discussion

Participants gather to engage in discussion surrounding a deeper look at current events of racial inequity through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From A Birmingham Jail." Posters will be available for decorating as well as food and hot chocolate. Hosted and led by Chris Sligh, director, Office of Student Engagement, and Kathleen Robertson King, campus minister at University Campus Ministries.

For accommodations and further information, contact King at ucmkrking@yahoo.com or (269) 387-2560.

  • 1:45 p.m.
  • Kanley Chapel's Dialogue Center

Commemorative Walk

Instead of walking, participants will take a bus from WMU Bernhard Center and Kalamazoo College Red Square to the MLK Park. After the MLK Park, buses will return to Kalamazoo College and WMU. One bus will take participants to an event at The State Theatre at 5 p.m. A 6 p.m. bus will return to Kalamazoo College and WMU.

  • 3:30 p.m.
  • WMU Bernhard Center

Community Celebration, immediately following the Commemorative Walk

Bronson Healthcare and Ascension Borgess  Hospital invite the community to a celebration immediately following the "Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Walk" at the State Theatre.

For accommodations and further information, contact Mikka Dryer at (269) 341-8323 or Sister Sue McCrery at (269) 226-5937.

  • 5 to 6 p.m., approximately 
  • The State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick, Kalamazoo

Tuesday, Jan. 22

Community Celebration for the National Day of Racial Healing

For accommodations and further information, contact Sholanna Lewis at slewis@kalfound.org or 381-4416.

  • 5:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Location forthcoming.

Dr. Lewis Walker Youth Social Justice Award winners

Presentation to award to recipients during the scheduled City of Kalamazoo Commission meeting.

For accommodations and further information, contact Patricia Vargas at vargasp@kalamazoocity.org or 226-6500.

  • 7 p.m.
  • City Hall, 241 W. South St.

Tuesday, Feb. 5

Interactive Program, "Beyond the Dream"

"Beyond the Dream," a deeper look at the perspectives of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. KVCC's Office of Diversity and Inclusion invites the public to a free program that examines the perspectives of Dr. King and his impact on our nation, particularly throughout the south in 1968. Participants have the opportunity to listen, reflect, and share thoughts and feelings and opinions regarding Dr. King's philosophies and ideas. For accommodations and further information, contact Trice Batson at tbatson@kvcc.edu.
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Texas Township Campus, Room 4240.

Wednesday, Feb. 20

"The Courage to Create" poetry celebration

The Courage to Create Program is a 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 program exposes young people to various genres of poetry and will provide a forum for parents and families, local writers, literacy experts, and faculty, staff, and students from local higher education institutions to build a supportive community to foster youth’s creative writing and historical research activities. The Courage to Create Program is open to all middle and high school students.  Poets are welcome to enter poetry on themes of social justice and equality.
 
Poetry submissions and permission forms for the Courage to Create Program are due Sunday, January 20, 2019. The program is open to all students in grades 7 ‐ 12.
 
For accommodations and further information, contact william.r.craft@wmich.edu. or kathy.purnell@wmich.
  • 4 p.m.
  • WMU Multicultural Center in the Adrian Trimpe Building.