University honors the life and legacy of MLK throughout January

Gospel music, campus awards, a march through town and a talk by a CNN political commentator are some of the January events celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

The university will recognize campus community members who embody the values of diversity, equity and inclusion to move the university forward at the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Ceremony and Luncheon on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 11:30 a.m. in the Erb Memorial Union ballroom.

Awards will be presented in each of five categories: social justice; LACE: love, authenticity, courage and empathy; IDEAL, institutionalization for those who demonstrate outstanding commitment to using principles of the UO IDEAL framework — inclusion, diversity, evaluation, achievement and leadership; institutional transformation; and outstanding diversity practitioner.

In addition to the presentation of awards, this year’s featured speaker is Bakari T. Sellers, CNN political analyst and former representative from South Carolina. Sellers is part of the UO African American Workshop and Speaker Series, sponsored by the Office of the President and facilitated by the Division for Equity and Inclusion.

Yvette Alex-Assensoh, vice president for equity and inclusion, said she is looking forward to an event that will both honor members of the UO community and provide an opportunity to hear from Sellers.

“Bakari Sellers, an exceptional national thought leader and change agent, will further elevate conversation and action at the university,” she said. “Sellers has been invited to campus as part of the African-American Workshop and Speaker Series, which resulted from the demands of the Black Student Task Force. Our students continue to move us forward in transformative ways, as did Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

An RSVP is required for the event.

On Sunday, Jan. 20, the Division of Equity and Inclusion and the NAACP join to show the film “The March” at First Christian Church, 1160 Oak St., from 3 to 4 p.m. The film is an award-winning documentary about the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, told by the people who organized and participated in it and includes King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety.

On MLK Day, Monday, Jan. 21, the 2019 NAACP Martin Luther King Jr. community march will make its way from Autzen Stadium to downtown Eugene. Marchers will start gathering at 9 a.m. at the north gate of Autzen and PK Park, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The march will wind up at the Shedd Institute of the Arts, where a program will be held from 11 a.m. to noon. The march is sponsored in part by the UO Division of Equity and Inclusion. 

The Holden Center’s annual MLK Day of Service also will be held Jan. 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Service projects will be hosted by local organizations across Eugene and Springfield. Preregistration is required.

The month’s events will end with the “Higher Heights, Deeper Love: A Celebration of Gospel Music Concert Remembering the Love, Leadership and Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” and a preconcert workshop. Both events take place Jan. 25.

The concert will feature Pastor William McDowell, Phil Thompson, Callie Day and the UO Gospel Choir.

McDowell’s three albums have made it to the Billboard charts, and his third album, “Withholding Nothing,” was nominated for a Grammy award for best gospel album. Thompson was a member of the urban contemporary gospel group Ashmont Hill before beginning his solo career with the release of the album “My Worship” in 2018. 

Day’s first single, “Hear My Prayer,” was released in 2016 and her album with the same title was released in 2017. She is also a doctoral candidate in music working on the project “Exploring the Role of African American Opera Singers In the Establishment of the Spiritual as a Musical Art Form from 1900 to 1920.”

The concert will take place at Matthew Knight Arena. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online for $25, including fees, and at the Matthew Knight Arena box office, 1-800-932-3668 (WEBFOOT) for $20, including fees. Students can attend for a special price of $15.

The preconcert workshop will feature Day and UO School of Music and Dance faculty members Sharon Paul and Andiel Brown. High school students will have the opportunity to sample the styles and techniques of chamber, classical and gospel music and attend a panel session on academic majors, scholarships and student life.

No music experience is needed. The workshop will be from noon to 5 p.m. in Room 250, Clinical Services Building. High school students and chaperones who preregister by Jan. 10 and attend the workshop will get a free dinner and concert ticket.

The concert and preconcert are presented by the UO Division of Equity and Inclusion with co-sponsors including the Office of the President, Student Services and Enrollment Management, Clark Honors College, Lundquist College of Business, Oregon Humanities Center, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, College of Design, Office of Institutional Diversity at Oregon State University, and Nancy Golden.

“We are thrilled to have so much campus, community and statewide support to bring these phenomenal musicians and teachers to campus and look forward to hosting the many who attend,” Alex-Assensoh said. “It is a great tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s belief in the power of love and a wonderful way to end the monthlong events.”

For further information on the events, see the Division of Equity and Inclusion website.

—By tova stabin, University Communications