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A rundown of MSU MLK Day events to commemorate the holiday

January 9, 2024
Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity hold up their banner during the MLK march on MSU's campus on January 20, 2020. Alpha Phi Alpha lead the march through campus.
Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity hold up their banner during the MLK march on MSU's campus on January 20, 2020. Alpha Phi Alpha lead the march through campus.

With Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaching on Monday, Jan. 15, a variety of events on campus are commemorating and celebrating the holiday throughout the week

2024 MLK Commemorative Student Committee Co-Chairs Brandon Foster and Jakaira Lynn said that it has been their focus this year that the events organized bring equity and inclusion to the forefront of the holiday

“(Students) can take away that there are resources for them and be able to celebrate our people," Lynn said. "We are just making it known you’re here, we’re here, and these people that did this, you can do it too." 

They also made it a goal to have more collaboration with student organizations throughout the events

“Being able to branch out and work with our students helped us to get to know what people want as well," Lynn said

2024 MLK Commemorative March 

The annual 2024 MLK Commemorative March will be held on MLK day on Jan. 15 at 9 a.m. 

The march will begin at Beaumont Tower and will end across from the site of the MSU Multicultural Center

The march is hosted by the 2024 MLK Student Committee within the 2024 MLK Commemorative Committee in collaboration with the MSU Zeta Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc

The MSU Black Student Alliance as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, will also be present at the event

Foster is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He said he is excited to carry on the decades-long tradition of hosting the event honoring Martin Luther King Jr., an alum of his fraternity.

“We just keep that tradition going and I just love the new twist that we put on each year,” he said

The event is free and registration is not required for attendees

 Events throughout the week

The “Stuff the Library Book Drive” and an exhibition at the MSU Museum entitled “Voices from Black Bottom, Detroit Community History," will be honoring the holiday throughout the entire week of Jan. 14. 

The book drive is dedicated toward filling local school district libraries with books on topics of social justice and with characters representing diverse backgrounds

Students can participate by either donating money, directly purchasing a book from the drive’s wish list, dropping off books in person or mailing them to the MSU Worklife Office located on 479 West Circle Dr. 

The MSU Museum self-guided exhibition focuses on sharing the rich history and stories of the Detroit community through community voices and artifacts

Towards Freedom Film Series

The 2024 MLK Commemorative Student Committee along with the MLK Student Planning Committee will be hosting the Towards Freedom Film Series on Jan. 16 and Jan. 17. 

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On Jan. 16, there will be a screening of the film “The Pact,” which follows three doctors and the numerous social justice challenges they faced along their journey of pursuing their dreams

On Jan. 17, there will be another screening, showcasing “The Banker,” a film about two of the first African American bankers in the United States and their journey of striving to gain sustained economic empowerment and to provide the opportunity for others in their community

Both screenings will feature a post-film discussion panel. After "The Pact," three doctors will join the conversation to share how they have helped to bridge health disparities within their own communities and after "The Banker," there will be a discussion with members of the Greater Lansing Financial community to share strategies for economic empowerment

The screening on Jan. 16 will be held at the Kellogg Center Auditorium, and the screening on the Jan. 17 will be held at the MSU Library.  

2024 MLK Student Leadership Conference 

The 2024 MLK Student Committee will be hosting the annual MLK Student Leadership Conference on Jan. 12

The conference will feature presentations, entertainment, lunch and keynote speakers: Dr. Sampson Davis, Dr. George Jenkins and Dr. Rameck Hunt

The keynote speakers plan to share how they overcame adversity and social injustice barriers to achieve their dreams of becoming doctors as well as their experience as social justice advocates within the medical and educational communities.

Registration is free for MSU students and attendees must be registered for the conference no later than Jan 11.

Attendees will be provided with a MLK Student Leadership Conference packet and a conference t-shirt.  

Weekend Wellness A Dreamer’s Mindset: Healthy Strategies for Achieving Wellness and Building Community Event 

The 2024 MLK Commemorative Student Committee will host a health and wellness fair along with the “Spartan Glow and Flow” skating event on Jan. 13 from 8 p.m. to midnight at IM Sports East. 

The event, which is also hosted and sponsored by the Residence Hall Association, University Activities Board, Recreational Sports and Fitness and the Department of Student Development and Leadership, is dedicated towards promoting campus-wide wellness and healthy goal setting and will feature wellness activity stations along with a pop-up roller skating rink. 

Skates will be provided free of charge to all attendees. 

Attendees will also receive a free t-shirt and food will be provided. 

2024 MLK Historical Landmark Virtual Student Engagement Event

The MLK Student Committee will be collaborating with Morehouse College students to host a virtual viewing of historical MLK landmarks in the city of Atlanta on Jan. 13 and Jan. 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Students have the option to view the event via Zoom or attend in person at the Clara Bell Smith Center located on 228 W. Shaw Ln. 

2024 MLK Holiday Ecumenical Service  

 An Ecumenical service will be hosted on Jan. 14 from 1:30t o 3 p.m. in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

Hosted by multiple student faith-based organizations, including the MSU Truth Seekers Campus Ministry, the event will feature a variety of faith-based performances as well as a performance from the Michigan State University Gospel Choir

A soul food tasting reception will follow immediately after the conclusion of the service.  

The event is free and will be hosted at the MSU Alumni Memorial Chapter located on 636 Auditorium Rd.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Unity Dinner 

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Unity Dinner will take place on Jan. 16 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center

The event will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and doors open at 4:30 p.m. 

Along with dinner and performances, the event will also feature assistant professor in the department of religious studies Dr. Blaire Morseau as a keynote speaker as well as speeches from MSU Interim President Dr. Teresa Woodruff and MSU Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Dr. Jabbar Bennett

The event is free and registration is required. 

MLK Cultural Showcase at Springticipation

The MLK Student Committee and the Office of Spartan Experiences will be putting on a social-justice-themed arts and cultural performance during the 2024 Springticipation event

The event is free and will be hosted at the STEM Teaching and Learning Facility from 6 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 18. 

The theme for this year’s performance is courageous leadership and a commitment to civil rights, equity and social justice.

Overview

Brian Johnson, assistant dean of diversity, equity and inclusion and 2024 MLK Planning Committee co-chair, said the 2024 MLK Commemorative Committee has been a ‘powerful team’ this year and that he is hoping for students who attend any of the events will take away that they can advance social justice in their own ways. 

“You don’t have to be an expert in how to promote equity and social justice, every bit makes a difference,” Johnson said. “A lot of these activities are student-led, and so you see these students at the helm of advocating and planning these events and commemorating Dr. King. That in and of itself is special and gives others' ideas on how they can promote and advance equity in their own ways.” 

Ebony Lucas, MSU Worklife consultant and 2024 MLK Planning Committee co-chair said that all these events work together to promote Dr. King's message of service and power

“We all have power, we all have the ability to promote equity, but we have to know our value,” she said. “You do that through commitment, through service, to remember it because that’s what MLK’s message was all about, helping each other.” 

For a comprehensive list of the events, visit inclusion.msu.edu.

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