Division News & Statements

MLK Week begins Jan. 16

January 10, 2017

"Engaging and Empowering Community" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week January 16-21, 2017

Two keynote speakers will highlight Grand Valley's commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 2017.

Kevin Powell is an author, humanitarian and president of BK Nation, a national organization based in New York City (the BK stands for “Building Knowledge”) centered on grassroots activism, pop culture, technology, and social media to spark projects and campaigns.

Kimberlé Crenshaw is an award-winning professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law schools. She is an expert in civil rights, Black feminist legal theory, and race and the law. Crenshaw coined two terms — critical race theory and intersectionality — that have proved foundational in many areas of study.

Commemoration week activities will run January 16-21.

Powell will be the keynote speaker on Monday, January 16, at 1:30 p.m. in the Fieldhouse on the Allendale Campus.

Crenshaw will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday, January 18, at 4:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center on the Allendale Campus. This presentation will be simulcast to an audience in the DeVos Center, Loosemore Auditorium, on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

2017 will mark the fifth year that classes have been canceled on the King holiday, allowing more students, faculty and staff members to participate in events.

Follow the week's events on social media using #GVSUMLK.

Monday Events

Several interactive events will be held throughout the day on January 16 in the Kirkhof Center, engaging the campus community in social justice activities and discussions. Visit this page for updates.

Crafting/Upcycling: 9:30-11:30 a.m., Kirkhof Center, Pere Marquette Room
The MLK Crafting/Upcycling committee aims to repurpose items that have reached the end of their life into new items with a new purpose while serving a need in the local community. The committee is dedicated to serving community needs and helping to identify ways to improve social situations.

10:30-11:30 a.m.: Workshop: Microaggressions
Kirkhof Center, rooms 2215/2216

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Lunch
Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room

1 p.m.: Silent March to Fieldhouse
Assemble in front of Zumberge Hall

1:30 p.m.: Keynote Presentation by Kevin Powell
Fieldhouse Arena

2:30-4 p.m.: Film Screening and Panel Discussion, "Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise"
Kirkhof Center, Pere Marquette Room

Common Ground

Tuesday, January 17, 7 p.m.: “Race and the American Dream,” a Common Ground event sponsored by the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, in conjunction with the Division of Inclusion and Equity. Eberhard Center, Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Nikole Hannah-Jones, award-winning staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, will join Jason Riley, columnist and editorial board member at The Wall Street Journal, for a dialogue on the progress that has been made since the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the challenges that continue to exist, in the pursuit of an equitable society for all Americans.

This event is free, open to the public, and LIB 100 approved. Interested individuals can register for the event at www.hauensteincenter.org/RSVP.


The Teach-In will be held Thursday, January 19, from 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. on the Allendale and Pew Grand Rapids campuses. Grand Valley has hosted Teach-Ins for the past three years, moving the event to MLK Commemoration Week in 2016 to deepen and advance social justice work that has been inspired by King.

Sponsored by University Academic Senate and Student Senate, the theme of the Teach-In is "Power, Privilege and Difficult Dialogues." Learn more about the event here.

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Page last modified January 10, 2017