Celebrating, commemorating MLK

Artwork by Duncan Ross.

The University of Iowa’s traditional Community Celebration in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. will be broken down into two separate events this year.

The first, “Time to Remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” a commemorative convocation event at the Old Capitol Museum, will be held on Monday, Jan. 16. The public is invited to gather at the east entrance of Old Capitol at 3:30 p.m. for a Unity Walk around the Pentacrest. A formal program honoring King and his legacy will follow at 4 p.m. in the Senate Chamber. Romonda D. Belcher, who became Iowa’s first female African-American judge when she was appointed to the state’s fifth district court in August 2010, will speak. A reception will follow in the museum lobby.

The Community Celebration will continue on Wednesday, Jan. 18, with a festive musical event, “Drumming for Justice MLK Celebration,” at 5 p.m. in the Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. The program will showcase various performing groups.

Many other activities will take place across campus this month as part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Human Rights, including service projects, panel presentations, film screenings, and more. Featured speakers include Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour and best-selling author; Sarita Arteaga, former president of the Hispanic Dental Association; and Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of History at University of Virginia

All events are free and open to the public. Selected activities scheduled on campus are listed below. For more information and a complete listing of Human Rights Week events, visit mlk.uiowa.edu.

Tuesday, Jan. 17
Hispanic Cultural Awareness for the Oral Health Professional, with featured speaker Sarita Arteaga, former president of the Hispanic Dental Association, noon–1 p.m., Galagan Auditorium 14B, Dental Science Building.

Wednesday, Jan. 18
UI Health Care Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Lecture, “Life in the Next America: Immigration, Demographics, and the Changing Face of America,” by Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour and best-selling author, noon–1 p.m., Prem Sahai Auditorium (Room 1110), Medical Education of Research Facility.

Panel presentation: “Transcending Governments and Media: A Dialogue with Iranian People,” hosted by the UI School of Social Work, 7–8:30 p.m., Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room A.

Thursday, Jan. 19
Community of Color—Getting Connected, community-building event for new and returning students, Van Oel Multipurpose Room, Currier Hall.

Martin Luther King Jr. Blood Drive, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Pappajohn Pavilion Lobby, UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Wednesday, Jan. 25
Screening of At the River I Stand, a film that captures the heroism of African-American sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968, and documents Martin Luther King Jr.’s final days of marching and speaking in solidarity with Memphis workers, 8–9 p.m., Illinois Room, IMU.

Panel presentation: “The Heart of the Drum: Enter Cultural Respect,” a discussion about intercultural respect, 12:30–1:30 p.m., Third Floor Atrium, Gilmore Hall.

Friday, Jan. 27
Martin Luther King Jr. Research Symposium, noon–2:30 p.m., Jones Commons, Lindquist Center.

Tim Be Told, a night of cultural diversity featuring activities and music with pop/rock/soul band Tim Be Told, 10 p.m., Second Floor Ballroom, IMU.

Tuesday, Jan. 31
Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of History at University of Virginia, and author of Courage to Dissent, a book about lawyers, courts, and community-based activism during the Civil Rights Era, will speak, 3–4 p.m., location TBD.

Service projects on campus in honor of this month’s Celebration of Human Rights include:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Project. Donations of food and personal items to benefit Shelter House and the Crisis Center of Johnson County’s food bank will be accepted at four local Hy-Vee grocery stores on Jan. 16. Donations also will be accepted at locations on campus Jan. 16 through Jan. 19. For a list of needed items and drop-off locations, see mlk.uiowa.edu/day-of-service.
  • Book and Movie Drive Benefitting the UI Health Care Patients’ Library. Bring donations of books and movies in good condition to the Volunteer Services Office and Patients Library (Elevator F, Level Eight) or Wild Rose Books (Elevator E, Level 1) during regular business hours through Tuesday, Jan. 31.
  • Scarf and Mitten Tree. Decorate a tree in the Main Lobby (Elevator E, Level 1) of UI Hospitals and Clinics with new hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves through Tuesday, Jan. 31. Items will be donated to local United Way agencies.

Recognition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthdate has been a tradition at the UI since 1969, and the national holiday has been observed through human rights programs since its inception in 1986. In 1990 the UI initiated the Human Rights convocation program. Afternoon classes were canceled to encourage student, faculty, and staff participation in programs that encourage dialogue about diversity and reinforce the principle that the University is a forum for the free exchange of ideas. The convocation has been an opportunity for serious thinking by all of us about issues of social justice, human rights and world peace.

An official university holiday was designated in 1995 to provide an opportunity to engage the university community in a discussion of the values that the holiday epitomizes. These initial events have grown into a campus-wide celebration that engages faculty, staff, students, and community members through lectures, discussions, and cultural arts presentations.

More events: fyi.uiowa.edu/tag/events
UI Master Calendar of Events: calendar.uiowa.edu