LAWRENCE — Members of the University of Kansas community can celebrate the life and work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. through a variety of events and activities. This year’s celebration theme is Working Together in Unity.
“Dr. King gave us a vision of how America could be. Yet he also cautioned us that ‘human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable,’” said Nate Thomas, vice provost for diversity and equity at KU. “In our journey to have all people feel respected and achieve success, it’s critical that we continue to challenge our assumptions and understanding about individual difference, privilege and the importance of social justice issues in America.”
King, whose memory is honored by the national holiday on Monday, Jan. 16, was a minister and civil rights activist best known for his call to action in the '50s and '60s. In 1964 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. He also posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
The Lawrence-based events, many of which are open to the public, take place throughout the week beginning with a gospel concert on Sunday, Jan. 15. The schedule includes the following:
Sunday, Jan. 15
Gospel Music Celebration, sponsored by Free Methodist Church, 6:30 p.m., Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave.
Monday, Jan. 16
Tenth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast, sponsored by the Jayhawk Breakfast Rotary Club, 7:30 a.m., Maceli’s Banquet Hall, 1031 New Hampshire St. The keynote speaker is longtime State Rep. Barbara Ballard, associate director of outreach for the Dole Institute of Politics. Tickets are required.
Civil Rights Activism Art Showcase, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through Jan. 22, in the Kansas Union Gallery, sponsored by the Kansas Union.
MLK Candlelight Vigil, sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Equity. The event includes a performance by Genuine Imitation, a panel discussion and reception. The vigil begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Strong Hall rotunda and proceeds on foot to the Kansas Union Ballroom. A panel discussion to explore King’s legacy in relation to current social justice issues and contemporary activism will begin at 5:15 p.m. Anticipated panelists include Associate Professor Shawn Alexander, Associate Professor Darren Canady, Distinguished Professor Maryemma Graham and Professor Randal Jelks. The discussion will be moderated by Abdoulie Njai, Student Senate director of diversity and inclusion.
Tuesday, Jan. 17
KU Common Book Community Conversation on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me,” sponsored by the Office of First Year Experience. Event runs from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the teaching gallery of the Spencer Museum of Art
Center for Community Outreach CREATE program (Arts Engagement and Education) work on arts-related projects with preschool-age children, 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Ballard Community Center, 708 Elm St. (Also on Wednesday.)
Wednesday, Jan. 18
Center for Community Outreach CREATE program (Arts Engagement and Education) work on arts-related projects with preschool-age children, 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Ballard Community Center, 708 Elm St.
Screening of “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,” sponsored by Student Union Activities and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Big 12 Room, Kansas Union
Thursday, Jan. 19
Tea @ 3 with a Martin Luther King speech screening, sponsored by Student Union Activities, 3 p.m. in the Traditions Area on the fourth floor of the Kansas Union
Throwback Thursday: Solidarity Songs, sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center.
One Dream, sponsored by Lawrence Public Schools, gallery opens at 5:30 p.m. Presentation of annual Martin Luther King Jr. awards begins at 6:30 p.m., South Middle School, 2734 Louisiana St.
Photo: Participants during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration events at KU, 2015. Photo by KU Marketing Communications