UW marks MLK Week with the “fierce urgency of now”

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At the University of Washington, celebrations honoring of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. go well beyond a single day or the solitary man. As the UW community continues to pause and reflect on beginning a new year and decade, we now continue to reflect but also mobilize to take action—celebrating and illuminating the lessons and legacy imparted by King’s fierce advocacy for nonviolent social justice.

‘To put it simply, we believe that the life of Dr. King should not be relegated to historical text — this is why our campuses engage in a suite of events and activities that explore the history and legacy of the civil rights movement through UW MLK Week,” wrote Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity Rickey Hall and Vice Provost Ed Taylor in a UW-wide letter Tuesday which invoked King’s emphasis on the “fierce urgency of now.”

“Whether we are children of the ’60s or turning voting age in 2020, the work of peace, justice, reconciliation and restoration of hope is at the heart of what we are called to do. Core to our work as a community,” they continued, “is helping each other become more principled, ethical human beings who rebel against inequity and indifference. This university can prepare the next generation of strategic leaders and thinkers to break down hierarchies of human value. We do this by serving together, living and learning together, asking big questions, seeking truth and marching together.”

“Dr. King calls us to use what he described as “a kind of dangerous unselfishness” — so that our lives are not merely for ourselves, but for others, too, where we are bridge-builders, where we serve others all the time, not solely on this holiday.”

That’s why, over the next 10 days, you are invited to serve, learn and march alongside thousands of your fellow Huskies. There are so many ways to engage and make meaningful connections and contributions both at the UW and within the greater community. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of on-campus activities and events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. on all UW campuses. From service rallies and marches to documentary viewings and panel discussions, there is sure to be at least one event that will further your appreciation for and involvement in the ongoing fight for equality, peace, and freedom that continues as a result of Martin Luther King Jr.’s actions and aspirations.

All the events listed below can be found on the UW MLK week link here. You can connect with others doing the same through social media, using the hashtags #uwMLKweek, #HuskiesServe and #UWserves.

UW Seattle

MLK Birthday Celebration

Date: Wednesday, January 15

Time: 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Location: Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center Lobby

If you are a student looking for lively party dedicated to celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., then we have the best event for you! Come out to Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center for the MLK Birthday Celebration where everyone can indulge in birthday cake in remembrance of such an influential leader! In addition, there will be interactive art activities, so be sure to bring your friends to create masterpieces along with you.

The Legacy of Reform and Revolution

Date: Wednesday, January 15

Time: TBD

Location: Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, Unity Room

Whether you want to learn more about the role Martin Luther King, Jr. played in the twentieth century Civil Rights Movement or simply support our UW black student organizations, attend the Legacy of Reform and Revolution hosted by the Black Student Union and Black Law Student Association! Enjoy a complimentary dinner while tuning into more about the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Rally and March Poster Making Session
Day of Service Shirt Pick-up

Date: Friday, January 17

Time: 3 – 6 p.m.

Location: Mary Gates Hall, Room 258

Whether you are attending the MLK Community Celebration March or simply looking for a creative outlet, don’t hesitate to join us at the MLK Rally and March Poster Making Session! Color, draw, paint, and let your imagination flow onto these posters because they will be shown during the march at Garfield High School.

For any UW affiliated person who signed up for a service project over the MLK weekend, MLK Day of Service t-shirts are ready for pick-up at this event! Shirts provided by United Way of King County.

MLK Seattle Vision 20/20: Community Celebration, Resource Fair, Rally, and March

Date: Monday, January 20

Times: Start at 8:30 a.m.

Location: Garfield High School

You may ask: why 20/20 vision?

The Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition aims to reflect the clarity of Dr. King’s dream and they hope it reflects the clarity of your own vision, especially in the new year of 2020. If you want to be part of this 20/20 vision or you want to have some fun exploring the activities of the celebration, come out to the MLK Seattle Vision 20/20 celebration, fair, rally, and march!

As the 39thAnnual MLK Day Celebration, there will be an opportunity fair and workshops, rally program including speakers, music, and dancing, as well as a march to the city hall. The day of celebration will conclude with a community meal to thank the attendees.

Additional details will be posted on the event website.


MLK Day of Service

Date: Monday, January 20

Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Various locations

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said,

“Life’s most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

That is why we have MLK Day of Service in partnership with United Way of King County where over 3,000 participate in day-long service projects all around King County. Whether you put together a service team or sign up as an individual, there are endless ways to serve your community and its people. Give a hand to local organizations that support the country’s most vulnerable populations.

Register for service projects with a team or by yourself by Thursday, January 16 here!


Inclusive Teaching Workshop

Date: Tuesday, January 21

Time: 1 – 2:30 p.m.

Location: Husky Union Building (HUB), Room 332

Are you passionate about giving accessible education to all students, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, disability/ability status, religion, nationality, age, or military status? Do you sometimes wonder what are some ways you can be more inclusive in classrooms, office space, or even casual settings?

If so, the Inclusive Teaching Workshop with Wei Zuo with the Center for Teaching and Learning is the perfect place to gain more insight on evidence-based practices that showcase the value of different teaching strategies and emphasis on diversity in student learning.

RSVP for the training to let us know you’re coming!

MLK Trivia

Date: Tuesday, January 21

Time: 5 – 7 p.m.

Location: Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, Unity Room

Whether you are an MLK and civil rights history guru or someone trying to boost their knowledge on facts about racial health disparity, Minority Association of Pre-Health Students and Students of Color in Public Health are hosting a fun MLK Trivia night! Participate in an evening filled with fun facts and trivia prizes! To encourage more people to come out and learn and celebrate the importance of history and Martin Luther King Jr., dinner will be provided for attendees.

Black History 101 Mobile Museum

Date: Wednesday, January 22

Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Mary Gates Hall Commons


Date: Thursday, January 23

Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Mary Gates Hall Commons

Do photographs, letter, magazines, and other ephemera reflecting the African American contributions in history interest you? Do you enjoy comparing history with modern society? If so, visit the Black History 101 Mobile Museum to explore a collection of over 7,000 original artifacts created by the African American community in the fields of science, sports, education, religion, politics, art and entertainment.

The Fifth Element: The Transformative Power of Knowledge in Hip Hop Culture

Date: Wednesday, January 22

Time: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Location: Mary Gates Hall, Room 258


Date: Thursday, January 23

Time: 6 – 7:30 p.m.           

Location: Fishery Sciences, Room 102

Do you want to gain a deeper understanding of hip-hop culture and its connection to Black social, cultural, and political movements? If so, Khalid el-Hakim, the founder and curator of the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, is hosting a lecture on The Transformative Power of Knowledge in Hip Hop Culture.

Recently, Khalid el-Hakim was named one of the 100 Men of Distinction for 2017 by Black Enterprise Magazine. Khalid has exhibited Black History 101 Mobile Museum in 34 states and over 300 institutions. Drop by to learn some new, interesting information on hip hop culture!

M3: Martin, Malcolm, and Muhammad

Date: Thursday, January 23

Time: 1:30 – 3 p.m.

Location: Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, Unity Room

Whether you are looking for an interactive discussion with others on today’s social movements or want to learn more about the legacies of three of the 20thcentury’s prominent black leaders, the M3: Martin, Malcolm, and Muhammad presentation will deliver an eye-opening experience. Dr. Terryl Ross, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Environment, will share the stories and voices of these leaders while applying their objectives to modern social movements.

UW Bothell

Rally for Justice Reform and Candle Light Vigil 

Date: Monday, January 20, 2020

Time: 5-8pm

Location: Olympia Capitol Building, South steps

Let’s raise awareness together for the mass incarceration and victimization in Washington State at the Rally for Justice Reform and Candle Light Vigil. 1300 candles will be lit for the 1300 men and women who are currently serving sentences they can’t live to complete. Some former prisoners, families, and victims will give speeches and provide their perspectives. If needed, transportation will be provided.

Reserve your spot HERE

The American Dream Documentary

Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Location: ARC Overlook

Time: 3:30pm-5pm

Looking for a place to discuss how racial inequalities are affecting not only the everyday lives of minorities, but also the health of these populations? The American Dream Documentary focuses on the racial inequalities on maternal health in the United States. Watch, learn, and discuss the impacts of social inequalities with a panel at this event!

Black Excellence Panel

Date: Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Time: 6-8pm

Location: ARC Overlook, 2ndfloor

Searching for the perfect networking opportunity with black professionals in their field of work? The Black Student Union (BSU) presents the Black Excellence Panel for others to interact and learn from experienced professionals in various industries.

Soul Food Cooking Class 

Date: February 2020

Time: TBD

Location: Off Campus, Seattle Central District

Do you love experimenting with different cuisines or ingredients? If so, join Achieving Community Transformation (ACT) for a soul food cooking class with Chef and owner Kristi Brown from That Brown Girl Cooks! The class will require registration which will be coming out soon. In addition to amazing food, limited transportation is provided.

Upsetting Bars: Mass Incarceration of Marginalized Communities

Date: Thursday, February 13, 2020

Time: 6-9pm

Location: ARC Overlook

Ever wonder how our justice system negatively impacts the people within marginalized communities? Do you want to learn more about how wrongful convictions on minority groups are affecting communities? If so, join the Social Justice Organizers (SJOs) at a talk about mass incarceration.

Raymond Santana from one of the Central Park 5 will be discussing his wrongful conviction and incarceration. He will share and highlight the disproportionate impact on communities of color.

UW Tacoma

2020 MLK Jr. Unity Breakfast:

Economic Empowerment: On Our Terms

Date: January 20, 2020

Time: 8-10:30 AM

Location: University Y Student Center

Are you interested in furthering MLK’s vision of an equitable society? Do you want to unite with others in your community to discuss these goals? Do you want to support your student, faculty, and community members for outstanding service with the Dream Awards?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, come out to the 2020 MLK Jr. Unity Breakfast co-presented by the Black Student Union and UW Tacoma.

Keynote Speaker:

Continuing this breakfast tradition since 2006, this year’s event will include the keynote speaker, Denise Fairchild, the inaugural President of Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC), a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. She works to advance ECC’s mission to green our cities, build resilient local economies and ensure equity inclusion.

Learn more about Denise Fairchild here.

Dream Award:

Each year, the Dream Awards is given to UW Tacoma students, student organizations and members in the community whose work has significantly contributed to Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream of diversity and equality.

There are three Dream Award Nomination Categories: Legacy (outside of UW Tacoma), Individual Student Award (current UW Tacoma students), and Registered Student Organization.

Registration and Tickets:

Although tickets will be sold at the door, it is strongly encouraged to register in advance due to limited seating at the event.

The admission cost for this event is:

Adults (General Admission): $15

UW Tacoma Students: $10

Children (Under 10): $10

Day of Admission (all): $20

More information and purchasing options here.

All the events listed below can be found on the UW MLK week link here. You can connect with others doing the same through social media, using the hashtags #uwMLKweek, #HuskiesServe and #UWserves.