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LETTER: Participation in IU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration honors his legacy



As students, faculty and staff return to IU’s campuses for the spring semester after the winter break, there is always a lot to look forward to, from new classes to graduation and everything in between. One significant event that occurs relatively early in the new year and should be on everyone’s radar is IU’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

As usual, it is encouraged that students, faculty and staff participate in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, an IU tradition. These student-driven efforts to give back to the communities surrounding IU campuses truly reflect Dr. King’s message of people coming together.

IU Bloomington’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Breakfast, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, will take place 8:30 a.m. Jan. 15 in the Indiana Memorial Union’s Alumni Hall. The keynote speaker will be sociopolitical comedian W. Kamau Bell, host of the Emmy Award-winning CNN show, “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell.” After the breakfast, attendees can head over to the IMU’s East Lounge, where Bell will be signing copies of his book, “The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell,” from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Other speakers include IU Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel; Rev. Harold Middlebrook, a civil-rights activist and friend of Dr. King’s; and John Hamilton, the mayor of the City of Bloomington. Additionally, students, faculty, staff and community organizations will be recognized for emulating Dr. King’s spirit with the annual Building Bridges Awards.

There are plenty of other ways to participate on the IU-Bloomington campus, so please see the complete list of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration activities on all IU campuses, which can be found online at mlkcelebration.indiana.edu.

However the IU community chooses to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, it’s important that we try to get involved — whether that means engaging in uncomfortable conversations as a spark to creating change, or simply contributing to a cause that benefits others — especially in 2018, as we pay tribute to the great civil-rights leader by commemorating the 50th anniversary of his tragic assassination.

James C. Wimbush

IU Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs

Dean of The University Graduate School

Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership

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