Community MLK Celebration Offers Diverse Perspectives, Experiences

January 11, 2024 By Traci Hale, Traci Hale,

University of Virginia and area community organizations are offering a variety of events as part of this year’s recognition of the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

While the federal holiday will be observed Monday, UVA and community partners will hold events beginning Sunday and continuing through Jan. 31.

“Partnering with various groups and the community amplifies the impact of the annual Community MLK Celebration,” said Meghan Faulkner, chief of staff at UVA’s Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “It brings diverse perspectives, expertise and experiences to the table, enriching the dialogue and ensuring a more comprehensive approach to the planning efforts. We hope that bringing together this diverse group helps to generate positive change, both on and off Grounds.”

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Celebration planning committee members drew from President Lyndon Johnson’s remarks upon signing the Civil Rights Bill nearly 60 years ago when choosing “The Constant Pursuit of Justice” as this year’s theme.

“The intention is for participants to gain a deeper sense of unity, empowerment and social justice, and to inspire dialogue, reflection on Dr. King’s legacy, and a commitment to fostering a more inclusive community,” Faulkner said. “Ultimately, attendees are encouraged to take tangible actions toward equity and justice in their daily lives.”

See the complete calendar. Highlights include:

  • Community Walk
    Sunday, Jan. 14, noon, Albemarle County Office Building
    To celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the roughly three-mile walk will explore several historical sites connected to the local fight for civil rights.
    Registration is not required, and everyone is welcome.
  • Screening of “The Space Race”
    Friday, Jan. 19, 5:30 p.m., Rice Hall Room 130
    The School of Engineering and Applied Science will host a special screening of “The Space Race,” with remarks following the film from UVA alumnus and NASA astronaut Leland Melvin.
  • 39th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. C’ville Community Celebration: Honoring the Dream
    Sunday, Jan. 21, 5 p.m., Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church
    Award-winning author and activist Jocelyn Nicole Johnson will be the keynote speaker at the 39th annual event.
  • Keynote Event: the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, “We Are Called to Be a Movement”
    Thursday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m., Paramount Theater
    A highly sought-after speaker, the author of four books earned a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University, a Master of Divinity from Duke University and a doctorate from Drew University with a concentration in public policy and pastoral care.

Media Contact

Traci Hale

Senior Editor University Communications