Kent State’s 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Honors the Dream

Kent State University held its 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 2 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. The celebratory event, which was free and open to the public, was themed “Honor the Dream.” It featured a variety of activities, including the presentation of the 2014 Diversity Trailblazer Award, a special “Honor the Dream” segment and student-led film debut.

Prior to the event and new this year, children from Kent State’s Child Development Center rode the PARTA (Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority) bus to the University Library where they participated in readings and signed a scroll with messages in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.

Also new this year was a commemorative silent march, which followed the celebratory event. The march began at the “K” on Risman Plaza, continued on to Ritchie Hall and  concluded with brief remarks, refreshments and the opportunity for the public to sign the “How I Will Honor the Dream” scroll.

“We are broadening participation this year to include the littlest members of our Kent State community, as well as other members of our university and local communities,” said Alfreda Brown, Kent State’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. “This year, we are focused on community service, commemorative activities and events that explore a variety of civil rights issues and topics to help our university community to continue to honor, live and share the dream.”

Kent State’s Department of Residence Services kicked off this year’s commemorative events on Jan. 16 in Twin Towers, Studio A, with a YouTube live stream of “Your Identity, Your Leadership. OUR COMMUNITY,” presented by David E. Jones and Kelvin J. Harris, of the Harris Jones Consulting Group.

Returning from last year, “Just 4 A Day,” a day of service held Jan. 20 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., allowed members of the Kent State community to participate in community service benefiting a variety of local nonprofit organizations. Children from the Child Development Center also participated in a Day of Service at the Campus Kitchen at Kent State on Jan. 23. They assisted with meal preparation for local families in need.

The commemorative events continued on Jan. 22 from 8-9 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Kiva with a viewing of “Chasing Rainbows,” a film that explores issues surrounding gay marriage and civil unions. 

Due to inclement weather, the Jan. 27 exhibition of "They Led the Way" will be postponed. Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication will host the opening reception of “They Led the Way,” an exhibition that tells the stories of the eight students who desegregated Leon County, Fla., public schools 50 years ago. A new date will be announced in the near future for "They Led the Way." 

“White Washing in the Queer Community,” an event sponsored by Kent State’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center, will take place at the Carriage House on Jan. 28 from 5-6:30 p.m.

Additional events in the Kent Student Center include a discussion on Jan. 29 about “Women and the Civil Rights Movement” at the Student Multicultural Center lounge. Also on Jan. 29, a “Game of Life” an interactive inequality simulation will take place from 4:30-6 p.m. in Room 310B. The commemorative events will end with a “Diversity Round Table” on Jan. 30 from 7-8 p.m. in the Kiva.   

For more information about Kent State’s 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, including a calendar of events, visit or contact the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Leadership at 330-672-2569.

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POSTED: Monday, January 27, 2014 10:17 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 12:07 PM
Foluke Omosun