About the MLK Day Celebration

We the People Speak: No Justice No Peace

2021 marks the 53rd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, which occurred on April 4, 1968, along with the founding of the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Atlanta 52 years ago.

On Monday, January 20, 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 35th 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 racist incidents that have affected the hearts and minds of many in our community over the years. It is in the hands of students, staff, faculty, administrators and community members to engage in dialogue and take positive action to combat this climate and embrace a better future. The 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration theme of "We the People Speak: No Justice No Peace" captures the essence of the ongoing nature of our work and the need to use the power of our collective voices to address racial injustice.

A goal of the MLK Celebration Planning Committee of students, faculty and staff has been to involve the campus community in the celebration planning process. This year's theme and keynoter, Yamich Alcindor, were selected by the Committee after receiving recommendations from students, faculty and staff. Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and an NBC and MSNBC Political Contributor. Yamiche will provide a distinct and highly informed perspective on the events of this past year, while also noting their historical significance and our efforts to live up to the grand vision of Dr. King.

We continue to see throughout history that true justice across the races, gender identities and socio-economic statuses in our country still does not exist. We look forward to providing a wide range of virtual activities that acknowledge and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and invite our campus and community members to join together in this important virtual celebration on the 53rd anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. This year’s theme underscores the need to use our collective voices to address social injustices in an honest, actionable, 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 continue 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 in order to foster a more ideal and just society for all.

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