Established four years ago, Virginia Commonwealth University’s MLK Celebration Week honors Martin Luther King Jr. through a variety of events and programs that commemorate his contributions, leadership, spirit of service and dedication to nonviolence and justice. With activities such as a silent candlelight vigil, birthday celebration and a day of community service, MLK Celebration Week 2017 was a week that honored MLK’s life and legacy.
Although VCU was closed on Monday, Jan. 16, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, students still gathered that night for a candlelight vigil in his honor. The silent vigil and march began at the VCUarts Depot and ended in the University Student Commons for a brief discussion on his life. Photos from the candlelight vigil can be found here. The week continued with a MLK Birthday Celebration, Legacy Night, Cafe and Design and blood drives.
“I really like that the campus comes together to celebrate a great man in history. It’s also awesome because it’s not just social events, they are also informative,” sophomore business management major Calvin Price said.
This year’s MLK Celebration Week keynote speaker was author, media personality and Morehouse College professor Marc Lamont Hill. Hill delivered a speech about how MLK’s life is relevant to people today and a question and answer session. Photos from Hill’s keynote address can be found here.
“It was a great opportunity to learn especially for somebody that is trying to grow as a student leader. It’s good to hear things from people who are leading in other aspects,” sophomore interior design major Taia Pollock said.
Taking MLK’s spirit of giving into consideration, VCU faculty, staff and students volunteered for a day of service across three different sites in the community — The Black History and Cultural Center of Virginia, the Children’s Museum of Richmond and the East End Cemetery Restoration Project. Photos from Service Saturday can be found here.
“Events like this always remind me of a particular quote from Martin Luther King Jr. ‘…life’s most urgent and persistent question is what are you doing the others…’ and I feel that we as members of the community and members of the world should come out to events like this because they’re critical to how we develop ourselves as citizens,” Vice Provost for Student Affairs Charles Klink said.
MLK Celebration Week 2017 concluded with the fourth annual MLK Community Dinner on Sunday, Jan. 22. VCU and Richmond community members gathered for a dinner while enjoying performances from the Richmond Boys Choir and remarks from Latonya Waller, VCU alumna and principal of T.C. Boushall Middle School. More photos from the MLK Community Dinner can be found here.
“MLK (Celebration) Week is about bringing the Richmond and VCU communities together to remember Dr. King,” senior communication arts major Christina Harrison said. “My favorite part is the Community Dinner because we all come out to mingle, enjoy some great food, hear an awesome guest speaker and get a chance to donate.”