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Kent State’s 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Commemorative Events

Posted Jan. 20, 2014
enter photo description
A Kent State student sings “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
during the opening of Kent State’s Martin Luther King Jr.
Celebration last year.

Kent State University will hold its 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration with a variety of events and activities planned.

Jan. 20:  Kent State’s Day of Service, Monday, Jan. 20, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. 
Kent State University faculty, staff and students will engage in service to a variety of nonprofits in the area. A kickoff will be held at the Cohn Jewish Student Center (613 E. Summit St.) where breakfast and lunch will be provided. Service sites are still in the process of being confirmed, and volunteers will be able to choose a service site the morning of the event. Site selections will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have questions regarding this event, email volunteer@kent.edu.


12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, Thursday, Jan. 23

The 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will be held on Thursday, Jan. 23, and includes a variety of events:

  • Little Activists Minimarch and Service Project, Thursday, Jan. 23
    Prior to the event and new this year, children from Kent State’s Child Development Center will ride the PARTA bus to the University Library where they will participate in readings and signing of a scroll with messages that honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. The children are reading Shane Evans’ book We March, which explains the purpose of “marches” and community. In addition, the students will sign a “How I Will Honor the Dream” scroll detailing how they plan to honor the dream. The scroll will be passed on to the Kent State community. Children from the Child Development Center also will participate in a Day of Service at the Campus Kitchen, helping with meal preparation for local families in need.

  • Annual Celebration
    Commencing at 2 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom, this free celebratory event will feature a variety of activities, including the presentation of the 2014 Diversity Trailblazer Award, a special “Honor the Dream” segment, including a student-led film debut and reflections by Kent State students, faculty and staff. The event will culminate in the first-ever “Honor the Dream” silent march.

  • Honor the Dream Silent March
    A commemorative silent march will immediately follow the celebratory event. The march will proceed from the “K” on Risman Plaza to Ritchie Hall, and will conclude with brief remarks from Richard Serpe, chair of the Department of Sociology, and Mwatabu Okantah, associate professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies. Refreshments will be provided and guests will have an opportunity to sign the “How I Will Honor the Dream” scroll passed off by the children from the Child Development Center.

Other Commemorative Events, Jan. 22-30
To continue the celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and usher in Black History Month, a wealth of commemorative events have been planned, including:

  • Jan. 22, Chasing Rainbows — A film that explores issues surrounding gay marriage and civil unions, from 8 - 9 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Kiva. The event is sponsored by Kent State’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center and the Center for Student Involvement.
  • Jan. 27,  “They Led the Way” — An exhibition that tells the stories of the eight students who desegregated Leon County, Fla., public schools 50 years ago, from 4:30 - 6 p.m. in the FirstEnergy Auditorium in Franklin Hall. The event is sponsored by Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  
  • Jan. 28, “White-washing in the Queer Community” — A discussion that will explore the lack of diversity in the queer community, from 5 - 6:30 p.m. at the Women’s Center. The event is sponsored by Kent State’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center.
  • Jan. 29, “Women and the Civil Rights Movement” — An interactive presentation that will highlight women in the civil rights movement, from noon - 1:30 p.m. at the Student Multicultural Center Lounge, 206 Kent Student Center. The event is sponsored by the Student Multicultural and Women’s centers. 
  • Jan. 29, Spring Involvement Fair — from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Ballroom. The fair is sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement. 
  • Jan. 29, Game of Life Simulation — from 4:30 - 6 p.m. at the Kent Student Center, Room 310B. The event is sponsored by the College of Education, Health and Human Services and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 
  • Jan. 30, Diversity Roundtable – from 7 - 8 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Kiva. The event is sponsored by the Latino Networking Caucus and the Pan-African Faculty and Staff Student Association.

Also, stop by the University Bookstore for special Martin Luther King Jr. displays and books. For detailed information or questions, contact Dana Lawless-Andric, Office of Diversity and Inclusion Leadership, at dlawless@kent.edu or 330-672-2569 or visit www.kent.edu/diversity/news-events/programming/mlk-resources.cfm.