Four Days of Events Honor MLK Jr.’s Memory, Mission

Several of Western Oregon University’s diversity-related groups will present activities surrounding the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day from Jan. 15 to Jan. 18.

Walidah Imarisha
Walidah Imarisha

The biggest event of the 10th annual Celebration Week will be the dinner Wednesday, which will feature keynote speaker Walidah Imarisha, an educator, writer, public scholar and spoken-word artist. Imarisha has presented statewide as a public scholar with Oregon Humanities’ Conversation Project on topics such as Oregon Black history, alternatives to incarceration and the history of hip hop. Her nonfiction book Angels with Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption won a 2017 Oregon Book Award.

Emmanuel Macias, an educational adviser on campus and member of the Celebration Week committee, expects Imarisha to be a thought-provoking presenter.

“We chose Walidah Imarisha because of her scholarship and background,” Macias said. “Walidah brings insights and perspectives to issues facing communities’ most marginalized residents. We look forward to learning and growing from her address at this year’s MLK Celebration Dinner.”

The dinner is at 6 p.m. in the Pacific Room of the Werner University Center. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for general admission (including dinner) and can be purchased at the Werner University Center front desk or in Disability Services. Students who have a meal plan can use their meal cards to purchase tickets at Cafe Allegro.

Here are the other three events happening during MLK Celebration Week:

  • On the observed holiday, Jan. 15, WOU students and local community members are invited to make a difference by volunteering to pack care packages for the Western Oregon University community. The event will be 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Historic Gentle House, 855 Monmouth Ave. N. Helpers must submit a volunteer form before the event.
  • On Tuesday, Jan. 16, WOU will host a “poverty simulation,” during which students, employees and community members will gain a broader understanding of poverty and its impact on individuals through an experiential learning and critical analysis activity. The session will be from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Pacific Room at the Werner University Center. It is free to attend.
  • The final event of the MLK Jr. commemoration week will be a Thursday, Jan. 18 student-led forum on the topic of “Media’s Representation of Marginalized Communities.” Members of the WOU Black Student Union will facilitate a critical analysis of media representations including the different perspectives of attendees. The conversation will be 4 to 6 p.m. in the Willamette Room in the WUC.

For more information about MLK Jr. Celebration week, visit the event website.

MLK Week schedule

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