32nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Live the Legacy

Look back, be present, move forward

2018 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

"Live the Legacy: Look Back, Be Present, Move Forward"

2018 marks the 50th 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 50 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 32nd 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. Yet, 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 members to engage in dialogue and take positive action to combat this climate and embrace a better future. The 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration theme of "Live the Legacy: Look Back, Be Present, Move Forward" captures the essence of the ongoing nature of our work.

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, Joy-Ann Reid, were selected by the Committee after receiving recommendations from over 200 students, faculty, and staff last spring. 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 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 celebration on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. This year’s theme underscores the need 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 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 as we strive to foster a more ideal and just society for all.

If you have questions about any of our MLK Celebration events, please contact one of the 2018 Planning Committee Co-Chairs:

  • Ellen Gold - Assistant Vice President, Student Well Being:  
  • Jieron Robinson - Student Employment Specialist, University Advising and Career Development Center:

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