Eastern Michigan University to host annual Martin Luther King, Jr. virtual celebration Jan. 14 -17

Justin Hansford, law professor at Howard University and executive director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, to serve as keynote speaker

"Rising Together for Justice" graphic with black and white photo of raised fists

YPSILANTI – Martin Luther King, Jr. was a well-renowned civil rights activist and Baptist minister whose contributions to the civil rights movement are celebrated each year. Eastern Michigan University will carry on its tradition of honoring the activist during a virtual celebration beginning Friday, Jan. 14-17.

Justin Hansford
Justin Hansford

This year’s theme is “Rising Together for Justice,” a topic event organizers believe will help improve race relations. 

To honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, attendees can expect a variety of activities including a celebration kick-off featuring performances by members of the EMU Forensics Team, Academic Programs Conference and CloseUp Theatre Troupe performance and discussion among other highlights. 

Attendees also have the opportunity to participate in a Crowdfunding campaign, which will be held in place of the 35th Annual MLK President’s Luncheon to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The goal of the campaign is to raise $5,000 to purchase gift certificates from local Ypsilanti Black-owned businesses for distribution to patrons of EMU’s food pantry. The celebration will conclude with special keynote speaker Justin Hansford, a law professor at Howard University and executive director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, on Monday, Jan. 17, which will be streamed on EMU’s YouTube channel. 

Professor Hansford will lead a conversation on the First Amendment and how the insightful ideas we learn from critical race theory help us understand how protest, pedagogy, and public debate around race has for a long time and will continue to be a central area where questions of justice are at stake.

The full list of events and activities can be found on the celebration website. 

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral, and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences, and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors, and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

January 12, 2022

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Melissa Thrasher