White House correspondent to deliver keynote address at virtual MLK event

Yamiche Alcindor headshot
Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS Newshour, will deliver the keynote address on Monday, January 18, during the virtual event honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Image Credit: courtesy photo

An award-winning journalist will reflect on the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a virtual event for the campus and West Michigan communities.

Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS Newshour and political commentator for MSNBC and NBC, will deliver remarks, "The Legacy of MLK: Purpose, Truth and Justice," on Monday, January 18, during a webinar from 6:30-8 p.m. Register online to receive a link to the Zoom webinar.

GVSU is the host of the 35th West Michigan community commemoration program. Three higher education institutions — GVSU, Grand Rapids Community College and Davenport University — have partnered to bring a national speaker to the community.

Alcindor covered the 2020 presidential election and became a go-to voice in analyzing the nation's most critical issues for Democrats and Republicans alike. She has earned the White House Correspondents’ Association Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage, as well as the 2020 National Association of Black Journalists' Journalist of the Year Award.

The virtual program will include the introduction of area high school seniors who received the "Inherit the Dream" scholarships and welcome remarks from college and university presidents. Julian Sanders, a junior majoring in political science, will perform a spoken word piece and serve as the emcee.

Other events are planned on campus through January 26 to honor King's legacy.

Thursday, January 21, 7 p.m.: Chief Isaiah McKinnon: "Policing from the Inside": Presented by the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Library, and Division of Inclusion and Equity; RSVP online for a Zoom webinar link. 

Saturday, January 23, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.: MLK Day of Service and Solidarity 2021: All events will be held in the Kirkhof Center and Cook-DeWitt Center. Events include a documentary and discussion, a panel on Gen Z activism, service projects, mural painting activity, and a food drive. See details and register online. RSVPs are required to maintain proper safety precautions.

Student Senate Give Thanks Initiative: A canned food/non-perishable food drive for Replenish will be held in coordination with the MLK Day of Service and Solidarity 2021. Donation boxes will be placed around campus during the last two weeks of January. Event participants are asked to bring a non-perishable food item with them to donate. 

Sanders and others have partnered with Student Senate to organize the food drive. "This is an initiative that can start our academic year off on a positive note," Sanders said. "This will help students with some necessities such as canned goods and non-perishable items, for us to continue being healthy and successful."

Tuesday, January 26, 1-3 p.m.: Panel Discussion, "Looking for MLK: Doing Justice in West Michigan": Panelists are GVSU faculty members and community members. Register online to receive a Zoom webinar link.

Panelists are Joe Jones, Grand Rapids Commissioner, Ward 2 and former president of Grand Rapids Urban League; Tonisha Jones, associate professor of criminal justice; Louis Moore, associate professor of history; Denavvia Mojet, GVSU graduate and community activist; and Sherry Johnson, associate professor of English (facilitator).

More information about these events can be found online at gvsu.edu/mlk.