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Emory to honor Martin Luther King Jr. with online King Week programs

The Department of African American Studies presents a special virtual presentation of a video compilation of the Emory community celebrating Dr. King's legacy. Learn more here.

The Emory community will honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy with several virtual activities that reflect his vision for civil rights and social justice. Observances will take place after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday — Monday, Jan. 18 — to better accommodate the university’s adjusted spring semester dates due to COVID-19.

One long-time highlight of Emory’s King Week, the “Day On” event that promotes student service opportunities and social justice work, will take place in April.

Here is the current schedule of King Week activities. All programs will be held online and are free and open to the public. 


Thursday, Jan. 21

John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition

3 p.m.

Registration required

The John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition is the first case competition focusing on the intersection of business and racial inequality. It honors the late U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis (1940-2020), the civil rights icon and congressmember from Georgia’s 5th district.

The event is a virtual student-run case competition that connects corporations and students interested in business in an effort to create innovative and actionable racial justice initiatives for those corporations.

Twenty-four semifinal teams will share their presentations the morning of Jan. 21; six winning teams from the semifinal round will compete virtually for the grand prize that afternoon.

Read how the competition became a reality.


Thursday, Jan. 21

Emory Explores: How to Be an Effective Advocate

5 p.m.

Registration required

Are you passionate about a cause or a movement and trying to find out how to address issues you feel strongly about? Emory Alumni Association and the Office of Government and Community Affairs have partnered on a series of programs that bring together Emory thought leaders and advocates to share their journey, their challenges and how they realized their passions.

Join this digital conversation to hear from inspiring leaders and start mapping out your path to becoming an advocate and leader. Panelists include:

  • Gregory J. Esper, professor and vice chair of clinical affairs for Emory’s Department of Neurology and affiliate professor of business at Goizueta Business School
  • Jasmine Clark, Georgia State House of Representatives legislator, representing House District 108
  • Hillary Thrower,director of state affairs at Emory and an official liaison between Emory University and Georgia's legislative, executive and regulatory bodies
  • Kallarin Mackey, assistant vice president of state affairs, will moderate the discussion.


Friday, Jan. 22

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards

12 p.m.

Registration required 

For more than 20 years, Emory has honored King’s legacy through the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards. This recognition began with Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta Business School; Emory’s School of Medicine joined the partnership in 2020.

This year’s awards celebration is centered on King’s quote, Only in the darkness, can you see the stars. With this, Emory recognizes that despite the difficult times our communities and country have faced during the past year, there are people and moments that lift us up.

Awards will recognize individuals and groups from the Emory community for their outstanding and unparalleled response to the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism. Nominees may have demonstrated, but are not limited to, actions or initiatives within Emory or in the broader Atlanta communities that extend beyond typical responsibilities in service of addressing an issue or challenge raised by COVID-19 or systemic racism.


Friday, Jan. 22

King Week Interfaith Event

3 p.m.

Registration required

The Rev. Jennifer Bailey, AME minister, interfaith leader and founder of the Faith Matters Network (a Womanist-led organization equipping faith leaders and organizers), will speak on “Healing the Soul of the Nation.” She will be in conversation with Greg McGonigle, university chaplain and dean of religious life, and Jewish chaplain Rabbi Jordan Braunig.  


Tuesday, Jan. 26

The Words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Reading and Conversation

11 a.m.

Registration required

Join the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for a reading of “America’s Chief Moral Dilemma,” a speech by King. Following the reading, faculty experts will discuss King’s words. What is our legacy and responsibility as the Emory community?


Thursday, Jan. 28

MLK Jr. Celebration Lecture

4 p.m.

Registration required

Emory alum Maggie Anderson — author, academic and activist — will speak on “Legacy and Responsibilities.” Anderson is former U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ former aide, President Barack Obama’s former law student and a successful corporate executive. The author of “Our Black Year,” she and her family received global media attention in 2009 as they lived out her public pledge to “buy Black” only for an entire year.

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