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Emory honors MLK legacy with service, awards, special events

Emory joins the nation in honoring Martin Luther King Jr., shown here in 1964, with more than a week of events focused on community service and social justice. Photo by Dick DeMarsico. Public domain as part of the New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection (Library of Congress).

Emory joins the nation in honoring Martin Luther King Jr. with more than a week of events focused on community service and social justice.

Kicking off Jan. 19, the university’s King Week activities include service projects, lectures, community awards, music and worship opportunities that connect King’s legacy to those engaged in similar work today.

In addition to attending events, members of the Emory community can contribute reflections to be published on the King Week website. To participate, please contact Michael Shutt, interim senior director of Emory’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Monday, Jan. 19

Emory’s Day On, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., multiple locations: Volunteer Emory, a part of the Office of Student Leadership and Service, joins in the national movement to make the MLK holiday a “day on” instead of a “day off.”

For Emory’s Day On – MLK Day of Service, volunteers will check in at the Coca-Cola Commons of the Dobbs University Center beginning at 11:30 a.m. and participate in service projects, which run from 1-3 p.m. Registration is now open and will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16.

Community service opportunities include helping with landscaping, gardening, maintenance, cleaning, sorting and other tasks at a variety of local nonprofit organizations. Participants can register for projects at Atlanta Hospital Hospitality, WonderRoot Community Art Center, Historic Oakland Foundation, Gateway Center, MedShare, Emory Educational Gardens Project, Habitat for Humanity-DeKalb, Truly Living Well, Trees Atlanta, Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve and Park Pride-John A. White Park.

Sponsors are Volunteer Emory, College Council and Emory Scholars. For any questions regarding registration, contact Volunteer Emory Staff member Merry Zhai at

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture, 4 p.m., Winship Ballroom: The Department of African American Studies hosts civil rights legend Bob Moses for the annual Martin Luther King Lecture.

Moses was one of the lead organizers of the 1964 Freedom Summer in Missisippi; since 1982, he has directed The Algebra Project, a non-profit organization that teaches math skills to students in underperforming school districts. He will discuss “Constitutional People: The Algebra Project and The Mississippi Theater (1960-1965) of The Civil Rights Movement.”

The event is also sponsored by the Hightower Fund, Division of Campus Life, Department of Mathematics and Office of Spiritual and Religious Life.

Wednesday, Jan. 21

Lecture by Robert M. Franklin, Jr., 11 a.m., Rita Anne Rollins Building, room 252: Candler School of Theology professor Robert M. Franklin will present a lecture titled "From Here to There: Dr. King's Vision, Our Current Reality and the Way Forward."

Franklin, a public theologian and president emeritus of Morehouse College, is the newly minted James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership and this is his first public lecture in that role. The free lecture is also part of the Dean’s Lecture Series at Candler. It is open to the Emory community, though registration is required. A boxed lunch will be provided for those who register by Jan. 15.

Franklin’s lecture comes a month after the Dec. 4 “die-in” protest on Emory’s campus in response to two grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y.

"As our country grapples with issues of ethnic and racial difference and police-community conflict, effective moral leadership is needed to enable justice with forgiveness, reconciliation and renewal,” Franklin said.

Voices of Inner Strength concert, 7:30 p.m., Dobbs University Center: Voices of Inner Strength will perform a gospel concert on the steps of the Coca Cola Commons, showcasing music that inspired Martin Luther King Jr. with a focus on songs about faith, hope and love.

Thursday, Jan. 22

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards, 4 p.m., Goizueta Business School auditorium: Robert Franklin Jr. will also be the featured speaker at the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards, which have been presented for over 23 years by the Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta Business School.

The event’s theme is "From Spotlights to Floodlights: Revealing Problems Before They Become Headlines." This year's honorees include the Anti-Defamation League, Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes, Georgians for a Healthy Future, Gideon's Promise, Latin American Association, Living Room, Midtown Assistance Center and the Women's Resource Center to End Domestic Violence.

A catered reception follows. For more information, contact Angela Thomas at 404-727-7697.

Social justice dialogue, 7:30 p.m., Woodruff Health Sciences Center Auditorium: The social justice dialogue "Dreamers: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" will feature a panel discussion on civil rights, education and undocumented students. The dialogue’s purpose is to compare the experiences of local African American civil rights leaders in the 1960s to those of current undocumented student leaders. Five speakers, including those representing African American civil rights and undocumented students movements, will discuss their perspectives. Emory Alumni Association President Doug Shipman will moderate. For more information, contact Andy Kim or Jacob Gabriel.

Saturday, Jan. 24

Shuttles to the King Center or National Center for Civil and Human Rights, various departures, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Students will have an opportunity to visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) or The King Center. The College Council and the Student Government Association are supplying Experience Shuttles for the trips. Shuttles to the NCCHR will leave Emory at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. and tickets to the NCCHR will be provided at no cost to students. Shuttles to The King Center, which has free admission, leave at 11:30 a.m. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged. A $10 fee will be charged to student accounts of those who register and do not attend.

Sunday, Jan. 25

• University Worship Service, 11 a.m., Cannon Chapel: Bishop Woodie White, bishop-in-residence at Candler School of Theology, will preach at the University Worship Service. White, who met King in 1963, writes an annual “birthday letter” to the late civil rights leader and Nobel laureate reflecting on race in America.

The Christian service will celebrate King’s life and legacy and feature special music by Voices of Inner Strength Gospel Choir. A free lunch, sponsored by the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, will be held in Brooks Commons following the service.

Tuesday, Jan. 27

• Martin Luther King Jr. Service, 7:30 p.m., Old Church, Oxford College: At Oxford, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service will feature Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), who is the House minority leader for the Georgia General Assembly and state representative for Georgia’s 89th district. Abrams is the first woman and the first African American to lead in the Georgia House.

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