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2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Theme:

"Courageous Conversations: Writings on the Wall?"

On Monday, January 20th, 1986, the United States observed the first national holiday honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is also the day that Eastern Michigan University hosted its first MLK President’s Luncheon under the leadership of the late President John W. Porter. As we prepare to commemorate the 31st anniversary of this auspicious celebration, we do so with a keen awareness of current challenges on EMU's campus and communities across the U.S. 

In more recent times acts of overt and covert racism have plagued America, sharing remnants of the country's climate during the Civil Rights Movement over 50 years ago. Eastern Michigan has been no exception, citing multiple incidents involving racist hate speech that have affected the hearts and minds of many in our community. Oddly enough, this is not the first time Eastern Michigan University was riddled with racism leading to multiple student protests in many forms in past decades. It is once again in the hands of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community leaders to engage in courageous conversations and take positive action to combat this climate and ensure a better future. The 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration theme, Courageous Conversations: The Writings On The Wall, captures pieces of the struggle our community faces and the action we need to take to start healing.

Each year, our Planning Committee of students, faculty and staff follow an arduous process to decide upon our theme. Like last year, we chose to challenge many widely held misconceptions about equity, fairness and opportunity for all in America. Our Pledge of Allegiance ends with, “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Despite this decree of impartiality and unbiased treatment, we have seen so many times that true justice across all races, gender identities and socio-economic statuses in our country does not exist. This year’s theme underscores the need for us to question the validity of this statement and to address social injustices in an honest and thought-provoking way.  

The movement for civil rights and social justice is far from over. It is our hope that this year’s events and discussions will encourage and galvanize each of us to take action for change. Please join us as we explore, inform and inspire the entire EMU and wider community to engage in meaningful action as we strive to foster a more ideal and just society for all.

*The MLK Planning Committee would like to especially thank  President James Smith, Student Government, the Office of Government and Community Relations, Graduate School and College of Education for their financial support which enables us to make tickets more affordable for all who wish to attend.*

If you have questions about any of our MLK Celebration events, please contact one of the 2017 Planning Committee Co-Chairs:

  • Dar Mayweather - Multicultural Affairs, Diversity & Community Involvement (dmayweat@emich.edu )
  • Nicole Johnson - Senior Admissions Adviser, Office of Admissions (njohns13@emich.edu)
  • Tiran Burell - Graduate Assistant, Diversity & Community Involvement (tburrell@emich.edu)
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