Yale to Honor the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yale University will celebrate the memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) with a week of special events, January 15–23, dedicated to the theme “Because of His Dream: ‘Yes, We Can.’” The events are free and open to the public.

To launch the celebration, there will be a panel on race and justice titled “On Victory: Have We Won the Race?” on January 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale, 211 Park St. Participants — including Yale professors Khalilah Brown-Dean, Ezra Griffith, Gerald Jaynes, Jafari Allen and Emilie Townes — will explore the literal and symbolic manifestations of victory related to the election of the first African-American president; equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transexual communities; and social justice.

Civil rights activist Charney Vladeck Bromberg will present a talk on January 16 at 8 p.m. in the chapel of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, 80 Wall St., following Shabbat services at 5:45 p.m. and dinner at 6:45 p.m. Bromberg will speak on “From King to President: A Reflection on a Life Working for Civil Rights.” In the summer of 1965, Bromberg directed the Scott County Project and provided training for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which subsequently enrolled more African-American students in previously all-white schools than any other school district in the state. Bromberg recently retired as the executive director of Meretz USA, an organization devoted to peace, pluralism and democracy for Israel.

Andre Willis, assistant professor of the philosophy of religion at Yale Divinity School, will speak on the legacy of MLK at a worship service hosted by the University Church in Battell Chapel on January 18 at 10:30 a.m. The University Church Choir will present special anthems for the commemoration.

The 13th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy of Environmental and Social Justice Program will take place at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, 170 Whitney Ave. on January 18, beginning at noon, and January 19, at 10 a.m. In working toward equality, MLK strove to raise awareness about public health concerns and urban environmental issues that disproportionately affect minority and low-income communities. The celebration will include music, dance, a youth talent show, storytelling, poetry slams and a grand finale drum circle. On Monday, the Peabody will hold its Community Open Mic, giving members of the community a chance to honor the spoken word and legacy of MLK by sharing original poetry and rap, and by speaking their minds on environmental and social justice issues. For more information on the Community Open Mic, call 203-432-5050 or zannettel@aol.com.

Yale College will host a “Unity Ball: A Celebration of Community,” in Commons Dining Hall, College and Grove streets, on Friday, January 23rd., 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. This semiformal reception and dance will feature a disc jockey, catered appetizers and desserts. The event is free for students, faculty, staff and community residents, but tickets are limited. Tickets will be available online on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8 a.m. on January 13. For information, contact: YCC president Richard Tao at richard.tao@yale.edu.

The national holiday on January 19 will include a Community Service Day, 8:45 a.m. – 1 p.m., beginning with a Continental breakfast in Dwight Hall, 67 High St. Participants will clean up a local school, feed the homeless, visit the elderly, assemble care packages and more. Free transportation to service sites will be provided at 9:15 a.m. To sign up, contact Amy.Rothschild@yale.edu, Bradford.Williams@yale.edu, or Elisabeth.Kennedy@yale.edu.

That afternoon at 5:30 p.m., Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University, 268 Park St., will hold evening prayer in celebration for the life of MLK and for Christian unity on the eve of the presidential inauguration.

On January 21 at 7:30 p.m., Joseph Slifka Center will host “On Dry Ground: Faith, Fear and Transformation at the Edge of an Inauguration.” This workshop will explore contemporary issues through the ancient story of the Israelites at the Red Sea, using writing, movement and theater techniques. People of all ages and abilities are welcome. For information, contact rabbi.lina@yale.edu.

On January 23 at 7 p.m., St. Thomas More’s Thomas E. Golden Center will host a night of pan-Christian fellowship in celebration of the life and works of MLK. The event is open to all who are interested in learning more about the diverse Christian community and its involvement with social justice. For information, contact the Black Church at Yale, Olawale Amubieya, olawale.amubieya@yale.edu.

The MLK Coordinating Council 2009 members included the Afro-American Cultural Center; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Zeta Chapter; Davenport College Council; Dwight Hall; Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life; Mary Miller, dean of Yale College; Mikhail Higgins of the Yale School of Public Health; Office of International Students and Scholars; St. Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center; Yale College Council; Yale College Dean’s Office of Student Affairs; Yale Sustainable Food Project; and Yale University Library Diversity Council.

Sponsors include the President’s Office, the Yale College Dean’s Office, Jonathan Edwards College Master’s Office and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325