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Full day of events to begin King Commemoration Week

  • People walking across campus
  • Kimberlé Crenshaw on left, and Kevin Powell on right in side-by-side photo

Posted on January 15, 2017

The first of two keynote presentations is scheduled for Monday, January 16, kicking off Grand Valley's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week.

Kevin Powell is an activist, author and president of BK Nation, a national organization based in New York City that uses grassroots activism, pop culture and social media to spark projects and campaigns. He has written 12 books, the most recent is "The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood."

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

Many free events are planned for January 16, which marks the fifth year that classes have been canceled on the national King holiday, allowing more students, faculty and staff members to participate in events. Visit for more information.

Monday, January 16

• Crafting/Upcycling, 9:30-11:30 a.m. in Kirkhof Center, Pere Marquette Room: Participants will create and repurpose items that will be donated to area nonprofits.

• Workshop "Microaggressions," led by Relando Thompkins-Jones, social justice educator/coordinator, 10:30-11:30 a.m. in Kirkhof Center, rooms 2215/2216

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

• Silent march to Fieldhouse, 1 p.m., assemble in front of Zumberge Hall

• Keynote presentation by Powell in Fieldhouse Arena, 1:30 p.m. Click here for a link to an evaluation survey following the event.

• Film screening, 2:30-4 p.m. in Kirkhof Center, Pere Marquette Room: "Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise" followed by panel discussion. Moderated by George Davis, from WGVU Public Media, faculty members Jennifer Stewart, Regis Fox and Louis Moore will serve as panelists.

Tuesday, January 17

The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies will host “Race and the American Dream” at 7 p.m. in the Eberhard Center. This is a Common Ground event sponsored in conjunction with the Division of Inclusion and Equity.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, 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.

It is free, open to the public, and LIB 100 approved.

Wednesday, January 18

Keynote speaker Kimberlé Crenshaw is a professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law schools. She coined two terms — critical race theory and intersectionality — that have proved foundational in many areas of study. 

Crenshaw will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday, January 18, at 4:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room. This presentation will be simulcast to an audience in the DeVos Center, Loosemore Auditorium. Both keynote events are LIB 100/201 approved.

Thursday, January 19

The Teach-In will run from 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. with sessions in the Kirkhof Center and DeVos Center. With the theme, "Power, Privilege and Difficult Dialogues," the fourth annual event is sponsored by University Academic Senate and Student Senate. Visit for session descriptions and times.

Saturday, January 21

MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity is coordinated by the Community Service Learning Center and will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Volunteers will meet in the Cook-DeWitt Center for a brief presentation then work on service projects with community partners. Lunch and transportation will be provided; details and registration information are posted online at

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