UF’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration 2015
Acclaimed actress Tessa Thompson will speak Jan. 21 as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week at the University of Florida.
Thompson, best known for her roles in “Dear White People” and “Selma,” will discuss the ideals of equality, share her the experiences and how to uphold King’s values. She will speak at 6:30 p.m. in University Auditorium.
Vee Smith, UF’s director of the Institute of Black Culture, said the theme of the events will continue this year to empower individuals to “Leave Your Mark” through reflection on eight values King lived: courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility, service and tolerance.
“It is important for students today to understand the historic relevance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Smith said. “In light of recent events happening in our country such as Eric Garner, Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin, now more than ever, we need to understand the impact of advocacy and importance of creating an environment of respect and inclusion.”
The celebration of events marking King’s birthday begin Tuesday with a candlelight march and opening ceremonies. During the march, students will view historical depictions from the Civil Rights movement and current-day activism aligned with King’s vision. The march will begin at the Institute of Black Culture at 8 p.m. and end at the J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in time for the celebration opening ceremonies featuring keynote speakers Debra King and Steven Evens.
On Jan. 19, UF encourages students, faculty and staff to spend the “day on, not the day off” by participating in the MLK Day of Service and volunteering to do service in the community. Opportunities can be found at http://multicultural.ufl.edu/mlk/. After the service project, the Gainesville Annual Commemorative March will begin at the MLK Memorial Gardens at 1 p.m.
A diversity training program, Diversity in Action, will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Ustler Hall atrium. This skills-based training session will provide students opportunities to improve their dialogue skills, practice empathy and active listening, and provide a space for students to create action plans to promote diversity and inclusion on campus.
At 10:30 a.m. Jan. 23, the President's Council on Diversity will host a community forum conversation about Implicit Bias in the Academy with Ben Reese in the J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.
Finally, on Jan. 27, writer Mia McKenzie will speak. McKenzie is best known for her award-winning novel, “The Summer We Got Free.” It starts at 6 p.m. in the Ustler Hall atrium.
To learn more about all the events associated with the MLK Celebration, go to http://www.multicultural.ufl.edu/programs/mlk_celebration/.
For more information, visit the UF MLK Celebration Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ufmlkcelebration?ref=hl.
Contact: Vee Smith, director of the Institute of Black Culture, 352-294-3560, VeeS@multicultural.ufl.edu