Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week

Theme: The Legacy of MLK: Purpose, Truth and Justice / January 18-26, 2021

2021 Speaker: Yamiche Alcindor

Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and an NBC and MSNBC political contributor. During the 2020 presidential election, Alcindor became a go-to voice in analyzing the nation's most critical issues for Democrats and Republicans alike.

Alcindor’s knack for following the story has taken her to places like Belgium for the 2018 North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting and to Helsinki, Finland, for President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

GVSU welcomes Alcindor as the keynote speaker for the 35th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration program:

"The Legacy of MLK: Purpose, Truth and Justice," by Yamiche Alcindor
January 18, 6:30-8 p.m., via Zoom webinar

Register online to receive a link to the webinar

She has also traveled to McAllen, Texas, to chronicle life on the U.S./Mexican border and to gauge the impact of Trump’s family separation policy as well as to Jackson, Mississippi, to write about the impact of racial inequalities and poverty in America.

Alcindor is the daughter of Haitian immigrants who met while attending Boston College. She has written extensively on the intersection of race and politics and covered the impact of President Trump’s policies on the working-class, immigration, and breaking news coming out of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She has also reported on the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, the legacy of President Obama as well as how police killings affect communities and children. 

The recipient of 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, Alcindor has become a steady voice in journalism. She earned a master’s degree in broadcast news and documentary filmmaking from New York University and a bachelor’s in English, government and African American studies from Georgetown University. 

Headshot: Yamiche Alcindor

Yamiche Alcindor will give the keynote address via Zoom webinar on Monday, January 18. The program runs 6:30-8 p.m.

Grand Rapids Community Celebration

Grand Valley State University is the proud host of the 35th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration for the West Michigan community.

Three higher educational partners — GVSU, Davenport University and Grand Rapids Community College — have teamed resources to bring a national speaker to West Michigan. The January 18 presentation by Alcindor Yamiche, "The Legacy of MLK: Purpose, Truth and Justice," will be presented via Zoom webinar from 6:30-8 p.m. The keynote presentation will begin at 7 p.m. after welcomes from university and college presidents and presentations of scholarships to area high school students.

There is no charge to participate; register online to receive a link to the webinar.

Note: because of COVID-19 restrictions, there will not be a silent march or other in-person events on January 18.

January 21 Event — Chief Isaiah McKinnon: Policing from the Inside

Grand Valley's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies has teamed with partners Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Library, and GVSU's Division of Inclusion and Equity to host Isaiah McKinnon for a virtual event during the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week.

In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd last May, outcry and demonstrations sprang up in cities throughout the United States. Debates ensued not just over the techniques police use to subdue suspects, but also the role of police in our communities. During the debates, one man’s story of creating lasting change rose to national prominence. Isaiah McKinnon, former chief of police and deputy mayor of Detroit, exemplifies a life dedicated to creating the change you want to see in the world. As a young police officer, he experienced racism firsthand, and as a public servant he rose to positions of authority in which he could do something about it.  

McKinnon will present "Policing from the Inside"
7 p.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2021

RSVP for this Zoom webinar


Isaiah McKinnon, former chief of police and deputy mayor of Detroit

Isaiah McKinnon, former chief of police and deputy mayor of Detroit