Award-winning poet, author and civil rights activist Nikki Giovanni will speak Jan. 19 as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week at the University of Florida.
Giovanni will discuss the power one has to make a difference in oneself and in the lives of others, and how to uphold King’s values. She will speak at 7 p.m. in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.
Vee Smith, UF’s director of black affairs, said the theme of the events will continue this year to empower individuals to “Leave Your Mark” through reflection on eight values lived by King: 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, 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 will start Jan. 13 with a candlelight march through campus and opening ceremonies. The march will begin at the Institute of Black Culture at 6 p.m. and end at the J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in time for the celebration opening ceremonies.
On Jan. 18, 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.
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