Indiana University will celebrate the 37th anniversary of Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday in the U.S. on January 16, 2023.
Each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Indiana University faculty, staff, students, and community members reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King through various activities, programs, and presentations. These events—including Indiana University's third annual social justice conference—are designed to engage and inspire community and university members and help them envision ways to carry forward Dr. King's work in a manner relevant today.
"MLK day continues to be an important commemorative moment for the university community,” says James C. Wimbush, IU vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs and Johnson Chair of Diversity and Leadership at IU. “The events scheduled, especially the social justice conference, provide an opportunity for each of us to learn, grow, and continue the work of Dr. King in our own small way.”
Indiana University's Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs will host the 2023 Indiana University Social Justice Conference: The Audacity to Believe in Dignity, Equity, and Freedom on Monday, January 16, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The conference, available both in-person and virtually, will include a keynote speaker, concurrent presentations, programs, and workshops led by expert social justice speakers.
The scheduled keynote presenter is Thema Bryant, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and director of the Culture and Trauma Research Lab. Bryant, with more than 20 years of experience in trauma recovery, has appeared as a mental health expert on television, radio, print publications, and podcasts. She raises awareness about mental health issues and believes it is time to shift, heal, and thrive.
"Although 59 years separate Dr. King's Nobel Prize speech from our current realities, his words are ever-present and ever-relevant. We hope that our community will be inspired by Dr. King's legacy and reaffirmed in their audacity to believe in freedom, equity, and dignity for our world,” says Monica Johnson, IU assistant vice president for diversity education and cross-cultural engagement.
An online pre-conference speaker is scheduled for Sunday, January 15, at 7 p.m., with a seasoned political strategist, former CNN political commentator and author, Symone D. Sanders. During the event, Sanders will sit down with Joe Greene, director of the McNair Scholars Program, to reflect on King's legacy in the context of the challenges we continue to face today. Sanders previously served as the national press secretary of the presidential campaign for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and as a senior advisor for President Joe Biden's presidential campaign.
The conference theme comes from Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1964 Nobel Prize for Peace acceptance speech. In his remarks, Dr. King says, “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education, and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up.” As we honor and celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr, these words written by him decades ago continue to bring faith and hope that racial and social justice can and will be achieved.
The Building Bridges Award
The Building Bridges Award honors an individual or organization exemplifying equality, diversity, inclusion, and respect. One student and one additional community member (faculty, staff, local organization, etc.) from each campus will be recognized during the social justice conference on January 16, 2023.
IU MLK Student Organization Grant
To further honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, OVPDEMA is awarding $500 grants to student organizations to offer a program, host an event, or create an effort supporting inclusivity, respect for diversity, and community service. Awardees will be announced during the social justice conference on January 16, 2023.
Visit mlk.iu.edu to learn more.