UF marks King anniversary with range of events, including noted speakers
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is formally honored only one day out of the year, but a campuswide celebration of the civil rights leader at the University of Florida aims to encourage people to follow his examples every day.
“UF MLK Celebration 2014: Leave Your Mark,” an annual event now in its seventh year, will be celebrated Jan. 20-29 with talks from nationally acclaimed authors, multi-denominational religious services, performances and film screenings.
Although UF is closed Jan. 20, students and others will participate in a day of community service and a commemorative parade. Registered participants can join UF and Santa Fe College students at the Reitz Student Union at 8 a.m. for a kickoff breakfast before volunteering with any of various groups that will be there. At 1 p.m., all are welcome to regroup at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza in downtown Gainesville to make the annual march to the MLK Multipurpose Center on Waldo Road.
The journey doesn’t stop at the end of the parade route — more days of conversation and collaboration will commence with a speech by keynote speaker TJ Holmes, award-winning journalist and national television personality. His speech is titled “50 Years Forward: Representing Something Greater Than Yourself,” and begins at 9 p.m. Jan. 21 in the Reitz Student Union Grand Ballroom.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and University of Pittsburgh professor of law David J. Garrow will join the conversation at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Pugh Hall Ocora to speak about King’s political evolution, followed by more events that highlight King’s commitment to faith, community and equality.
At 10:30 a.m. Jan. 24, Damon Williams — a nationally recognized figure in diversity, leadership and organizational change and former vice provost and chief diversity officer for the University of Wisconsin-Madison — will have an open address around the topic of Fostering Campus Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 25, The Forum Project, an organization providing creative opportunities for individuals to explore their world and communities, will be in the Smathers Library, Room 1A. Workshops will educate individuals on how they can relate King’s values to their lives.
At 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29, Multicultural & Diversity Affairs will host a Campus Climate Summit in the Grand Ballroom of the Reitz Student Union to promote opportunities to increase understanding through formal dialogue and education toward developing a plan of action to create a healthy campus climate for UF at all levels.
Finally, at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 30, African-American journalist, author, and comedienne Jamila Bey will speak about the role of religion and atheism in the lives of African-American women as part of UF Intercultural Engagement’s Breaking Bread Initiative.
All events are free and open to the public. All events are sponsored and supported by individual departments and student organizations through UF Student Government.
For more information and a full schedule of events: www.UFMLK.org.