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Emory King Week 2024 to focus on building — and serving — community
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Each year, Emory’s King Week is a series of programs to honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. This year's events are set for Jan. 13-24 and The King Center’s 2024 theme is “It Starts with Me: Shifting the Cultural Climate through the Study and Practice of Kingian Nonviolence.”

“King Week is a great way to begin the academic semester,” says Carol E. Henderson, vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer and adviser to the president at Emory University. Henderson points out how this week leads into the National Day of Racial Healing (Jan. 16) and International Holocaust Day of Remembrance (Jan. 27), among others.

“This week doesn’t only honor Dr. King. It’s also about his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, his family and many others who took that journey with him,” says Henderson. “No one person is a movement. This moment is an opportunity to reflect on how we enter communities and consider: What is my responsibility as a human on this planet to create a better world for all?”

It starts right here at Emory.


In service of humanity

Oxford College hosts the Oxford MLK Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 15, which will give faculty, staff and students the opportunity to choose between two projects. For one, volunteers will pull invasive species from along Dried Indian Creek Trail with the Oxford Organic Farm staff and in partnership with the city of Oxford. Volunteers helping with the other project will assemble care packages, including menstruation kits for Clements Middle School, weekend food kits for Giving Hands Food Pantry/Newton County Schools and craft kits for Newton County Libraries. Volunteers should meet at 10:30 a.m. in the Greer Forum of the Oxford Student Center.

Then, the annual Emory’s Day On takes place Saturday, Jan. 20, to honor King's work, legacy and values through a variety of community service projects. Sponsored by Emory’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement, projects are scheduled from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Participants should meet at 11 a.m. in the Emory Student Center to enjoy a kickoff with food, T-shirts, speeches and project check-ins.

This year’s projects include everything from supporting those battling cancer to maintaining facilities for homeless and low-income individuals throughout metro Atlanta and more. Faculty, staff and students are invited to find a project they care about and secure a spot via Emory OPEN today.


National Day of Racial Healing

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, join the livestream lunch and learn “National Day of Racial Healing: The Journey to Healing for One Emory” with keynote speaker Tia Brown McNair. McNair is a vice president in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Student Success and executive director for the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the American Association of Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C. She oversees both funded projects and the AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact practices and student success. 

Sharon Stroye, Emory’s inaugural director of truth, racial healing and transformation, explains that the National Day of Racial Healing — and the efforts of Emory’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center — all tie in with Emory’s mission statement and King’s focus on service to humanity.

“Our goal is to create the next generation of leaders who will dismantle structural, institutional racism through a shared humanity perspective,” Stroye says. 

And for individuals who are interested but don’t know what to expect, or are nervous about attending such an event?

“Come in with an open mind, it’s not what you think. It’s an opportunity to connect with people in our humanity,” Stroye says. “We create brave, safe and responsible spaces to engage in authentic storytelling about our human, lived experiences.”  


Inspiring insights and lectures

King is well remembered for his inspiring words, and that tradition will be carried on throughout King Week 2024, from sermons to film screenings and panel discussions.

On Friday, Jan. 12, the School of Nursing will host a field event at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The event, which is open to Emory nursing faculty and staff, starts at 9 a.m. and will provide the opportunity to further explore King’s work and its relevance today. The School of Nursing will also have an interactive learning experience centered around social justice and human rights. For more information and to register, contact Stella Clarke-Dubose.

Emory Cares presents an inspiring webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 12 p.m. via Zoom. “Alumni Shaping Atlanta’s Future through Community Engagement” will spotlight Emory University alumni who are making a significant impact in the Atlanta community and will delve into their stories, journeys, achievements and influence. Attendees can engage with the panelists and hear firsthand accounts of innovative projects, initiatives and collaborations that have had a positive, lasting impact on Atlanta.

At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, join the Department of African American Studies in Convocation Hall for a documentary film and panel discussion about “The Cost of Inheritance.” Panelists include Emory faculty Carol Anderson, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of African American Studies; Janeria Easley, assistant professor of African American studies; and Jessica Lynn Stewart, assistant professor of African American studies. Cynthia Spence, co-chair and associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Spelman College, and Spelman College Quarterman-Keller Scholars will also be panelists. Reserve your spot online.

From 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18, join “Equitable Dinners Atlanta at Emory" hosted by the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Initiative at Emory in collaboration with Equitable Dinners Atlanta and Out of Hand Theater. The dinner and performance is open to the entire Emory community, but registration is required. The program will be held in the Joseph W. Jones Room of the Robert W. Woodruff Library.

At 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 18, the School of Medicine will host the Community Engagement Champion Awards. This webinar will honor exceptional community partners who are engaged longitudinally with Emory’s medical students through the “Community Learning and Social Medicine” course.

On Friday, Jan. 19, join a virtual video screening and reflections on the “Kingian Nonviolence 365 Initiative,” starting at 12 p.m. Online registration is required. Sponsored by the School of Nursing, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory Healthcare and Winship Cancer Institute, the program is open to the entire Emory community.

At 4:30 p.m. Jan. 19, All Black Emory will present a panel-based dialogue called “King Week Feature Episode,” exploring the civil rights movement through the lens of Black women and the diurnal challenges they faced in maintaining the vitality of their families, the movement and their intersectional politics. Join the event at the Emory Black Student Union, located in Cox Hall.

On Wednesday, Jan. 24, join Emory author Valerie Babb, Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities in African American Studies and English, for a discussion and book signing. Focused on her recent publication, “The Book of James: The Power, Politics and Passion of LeBron,” the event starts at 5 p.m. in the Margaret H. Rollins Room and Foyer of the Randall R. Rollins building and advance registration is required


Worship services

The Oxford Campus Celebration of King’s life takes place at the Old Church on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m. The event will be a celebration of music with the community choir, a cappella group, chamber ensemble and the new Oxford group Soul Collective; readings will be interspersed throughout the service.

“This year, instead of a keynote speaker, we’re focusing on music with a few readings and reflections interspersed,” says Oxford College Chaplain Lyn Pace. “Having music, which brings hope and unity, felt like a good way to go this year.”

“The Oxford celebration is free and open to everybody. Even though it can be a little haul for Atlanta folks to get out here, it’s going to be well worth it. If you love music, and you want to experience different types of music plus a fantastic gospel choir that always brings down the house, this is the year to do it,” says Pace. “Come out early and see the campus if you’ve never been here, get dinner at the square in Covington and then enjoy the celebration.”

The event is sponsored by the Oxford Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and is free and open to all. For more information, contact Oxford College Chaplain Lyn Pace.

On Sunday, Jan. 21, all are invited to attend the King Sunday Worship Service, starting at 11 a.m. in Cannon Chapel and online via Zoom. Carol E. Henderson, vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer, and adviser to the president at Emory University, will be preaching. The service will be followed by lunch at 12 p.m. in Brooks Commons. For more information, please contact Religious Life.

“Emory King Week is a truly collaborative effort of all schools and units of Emory that each make their own contributions to the spiritual, educational and service dimensions of King Week,” says Rev. Gregory McGonigle, university chaplain and dean of spiritual and religious life. “This year, we are especially excited for the new offerings on the National Day of Racial Healing, and that Dr. Carol Henderson will be bringing an inspirational word at the King Week Beloved Community worship service. But each event — from the awards ceremonies to film screenings and panels to service projects — makes a valuable contribution.”

And with so many great events to choose from, there’s something for everyone at Emory.

“I want the Emory community to show up with an open mind and an open heart and a willingness to listen. That’s it,” says Stroye, referring to each event. “Look at the events and go wherever you feel comfortable, but also challenge yourself to step out of that comfort zone just a little bit. You’ll be amazed at what you will walk away with.”

For a full list of Emory King Week events and more information, view the website.

As the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. and the headquarters of the civil rights movement, the city of Atlanta offers many opportunities to learn and connect with the history of civil rights and ongoing initiatives to continue these efforts. Several institutions to follow include Ebenezer Baptist Church, the MLK Jr. National Historical Park, the King Center, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

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