It’s been nearly 50 years since the death of civil rights legend Martin Luther King Jr. His messages of unity and peace, however, continue to inspire Americans from all cultural backgrounds.
The University of Houston will honor King’s memory with “Breaking Barriers, Strengthening Communities.” This series of events will take place Jan. 23 – 27 on campus and in the community. All events are free and open to faculty, staff, students and the public. For more details, visit the UH MLK Celebration site.
A schedule of events is as follows:
- Jan. 23 – MLK Day of Service: Cougars will contribute their time and energies to the Houston Food Bank (535 Portwall St.). Volunteers will assist in sorting food donations from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and others can register for the Day of Service here.
- Jan. 25 – Screening and discussion of “Selma”: The award-winning film will be presented at noon in the Student Center Theater. At 6 p.m., film clips will be screened, and a panel consisting of faculty, staff and students discuss the film. Featured speakers include Alex Brown, civil rights guide for Brentwood Baptist Church's Youth Department; Linda Reed, UH associate professor of history, and Marcus Smith, former UH Student Government Association director of external affairs. Jonathan Schwartz, associate dean in UH's College of Education, will moderate this discussion.
- Jan. 26 – MLK Commemorative Celebration featuring veteran civil rights activist Virgil Wood and poet Se7ven: Wood was King's friend and marched alongside him in pursuit of racial equality. He will discuss King’s legacy at 4 p.m. in the Student Center Theater. Complementing Wood’s perspective is inspirational poet Se7en.
- Jan. 27 – “Social Justice: Then and Now”: This panel discussion will take place at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. Panelists will discuss how social justice efforts were viewed 50 years ago and how they are viewed today. Speakers include attorneys Anthony Chase and Karima Maloney, and Samantha Rodriguez, a doctoral candidate in UH's history department. Elwyn Lee, UH vice president for community relations and institutional access and a member of the UH MLK Committee, will moderate the discussion.
Events are coordinated by the UH MLK Committee and sponsored by the following University departments: Baptist Student Ministry, Center for Student Involvement, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Honors College, Metropolitan Volunteer Program and the Office of Governmental and Community Relations.
In addition to Lee, other members of the UH MLK Committee include Chris Pinto, Metropolitan Volunteer Program director; Rohini Sethi, Student Government Association representative; Matthew Stell, Center for Diversity and Inclusion ambassador; Jose Gonzalez, UH graduate student; Byron Ross, clinical assistant professor; Kristen Guiseppi, program manager for the Pipeline; Tamsen Burke, associate director of campus recreation; Tina Powellson, director of the Center for Student Involvement; Susie Molina, director of community relations; Erika Henderson, assistant provost; Keith Kowalka, assistant vice president of student life; Lauren Preston, program coordinator in governmental relations; Jonathan Schwartz, professor; Cynthia Olmedo, assistant director of career services, and Niya Blair, director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 42,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.