In dedication to Martin Luther King’s legacy this week, the University of Utah’s Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) will host programming focused on service, activism and raising awareness of Black issues. Highlighted events include a keynote address by Charlene Carruthers, a rally and the U’s famous annual “MLK Day of Service.”
The week listed in the announcement calls for “action for young people across our campus to engage in grassroots movements and communities that promote social change.”
Neelam Chand, marketing and communications director of the U’s OED, explained the influence for this year’s theme underscores the power of activism and its history in the country. “When we think about history, we think about the young people who have become leaders and activists who really have influenced social and political agendas,” Chand said.
The following events for this week include:
Rally and March Jan. 21 | 2:30 p.m. East High School auditorium, 840 S. 1300 E. March to Kingsbury Hall at 3:15 p.m. (1375 Presidents Circle)
To march in honor of MLK’s call to equality, join the 11th annual Celebration Rally and March at East High School to end together at Kingsbury Hall.
Keynote Address by Charlene Carruthers: “Make an Active Choice to Engage” Jan. 23 | 12-1:30 p.m. Olpin Student Union Building, Ballroom, 200 Central Campus Drive
“Charlene Carruthers is a strategist, author and a leading organizer in today’s Black liberation movement,” the announcement for the address reads. Carruthers also founded the Black Youth Project 100, an organization dedicated to empowering Black youth to work together in approaching the social, political and economic issues of our time.
“That focus was for young Black activists to build an organized sort of movement together dedicated to creating justice for Black communities,” Chand said. “I think we can use that example.”
Campus and Community Panel Discussion: “The Power of a Ballot” Jan. 24 | 12-1 p.m. Hinckley Institute of Politics (Room 2055), Carolyn and Kem Gardner Commons Building
This panel discussion illuminates the crucial conversation around voting and its access for marginalized communities. Raising concepts like voter suppression and its impact then and now in certain regions in the country will be addressed.
For students interested in how to tackle this issue, the panel aims to impart an action plan to get started in working against the injustices embedded in voting.
Panelists are yet to be announced.
The organizers for next week are confident the work of MLK will wholly be defined within these events. “Activism is a way to change perspectives and have critical conversations, then gather enough energy to change a policy that matches those critical conversations and social change,” Chand said.
Chand said that she hopes MLK Week will inspire those who want to engage in activism and need a place to start.
All events are free and open to the public. For more information and questions regarding accessibility, visit: https://attheu.utah.edu/facultystaff/the-power-of-grassroots-movements/