Events planned to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

March 22, 2018
MLK Jr. Statue

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is hosting a series of events on Tuesday, April 3 through Thursday, April 5 to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. April 4 marks the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for our campus to learn more about Dr. King’s legacy during this historic week,” said Angela Miller, executive director of Diversity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer. “The events of the week have been created through collaborative efforts across various academic disciplines and campus departments. A myriad of faculty, staff and students worked together to create space to assist our campus in sharing time to learn, reflect and grow from the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

The first event will take place on Tuesday, April 3 from 5-8 p.m. in 103 Doudna Hall. “Going to the Mountaintop” will begin at 5 p.m. with an interactive history display on lesser-known figures from the civil rights movement followed by a trivia game and prizes. At 6 p.m., members of UW-Platteville’s Black Student Union, Latino Student Union and national English honor society Sigma Tau Delta will read “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” which was the last speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered, on April 3, 1968. The event will conclude with a roundtable discussion on how to be an ally and advocate. Roundtable participants will include Emily Stier, Doyle Center for Gender and Sexuality coordinator; Deirdre Dalsing, director of Counseling Services; and Melissa Stoner, resident director.

“I think it’s really important to pause and reflect on Dr. King’s specific legacy, but also think about the broader ways we still live his dream,” said Dr. Pip Gordon, one of the event organizers and assistant professor of English. 

On Wednesday, April 4 from noon-1 p.m., Dr. Frank King, assistant professor of ethnic studies at UW-Platteville, will give a keynote address at a luncheon, open to the public, in Velzy Commons, Ullsvik Hall. In his speech, “Dr. King’s Sacrifice and Legacy: Now It’s Our Turn,” Frank King will focus on Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and what people can do today to be politically and socially active, and why they should be.

"It is important for more people in the community to understand that we all have the potential to do the work Martin Luther King Jr. did," said Frank King. "To have the will and courage to enact social change is essential to move forward to a just society. It is our duty as global citizens to fight injustices."

The week’s events will culminate on Thursday, April 5 with a unity march across campus from 12:15-1 p.m. The march will begin and end in Nohr Gallery, Ullsvik Hall.

“The unity march gives us an opportunity to come together as a community and hold an intentional reflection honoring Dr. King’s inspirational leadership and legacy,” said Miller. “It also provides a space for our campus community to show engagement in building on that legacy with their own actions and alliance with others.”

In addition to the commemoration events, UW-Platteville will also introduce a new campus-wide campaign, #PioneersUnite, on April 3. The campaign encourages everyone on campus to be an upstander — someone who speaks up when they see an incident of hate or bias.

“We are asking folks to pledge their support for the #PioneersUnite movement throughout the week and wear their shirts at the unity march as a representation of being an active community member in speaking up, standing up and supporting each other in the work to fight against bias and hate in our community,” said Miller.

Opportunities to take the pledge and become a part of the #PioneersUnite campaign will be available April 3-6 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Student Center, Bridgeway Commons and Greenwood Avenue Market, as well as outside of Nohr Gallery prior to the start of the unity march. Learn more about the campaign at www.uwplatt.edu/diversity/pioneers-unite

Written by: Alison Parkins, Communications, and Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education

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