Martin Luther King, Jr.
The WCU community gathers annually to celebrate and commemorate the life and legacy
of Martin Luther King Jr. Our focus during the week long celebration is the concept
of community. Dr. King once said, 'We know that to bring justice, love, and friendship,
we must build strong communities that foster these things.' We encourage you to consider
these words and your role in building a strong community here at WCU and beyond.
The 2020 celebration launched with an special screening of the movie Selma and the
annual Unity March, and included days of service, events sponsored by student organizations,
a keynote speaker and NCBI training.
Dr. Oralene Anderson Graves Simmons, an internationally recognized civil rights leader,
is the award-winning visionary founder of Asheville’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Prayer Breakfast and distinguished recipient of the national MLK Commission’s “Making
of the King Holiday Award” presented to her by Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Simmons speaks
and teaches widely, inspiring audiences locally, nationally, and globally, about her
journey in civil rights along a path of non-violence in the tradition of Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. She is currently working on a memoir based on her inspirational lectures
about her life, titled Journey to Myself.
A native of Western North Carolina, where she has been a pioneer in the civil rights
movement since her school days, Ms. Simmons is founding president of the Martin Luther
King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County and former co-chair of the
North Carolina State Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Commission. For her pioneering
civil rights work in the early 1960s, especially for her singular and courageous role
in integrating all-white Mars Hill College in 1961, Ms. Simmons first gained worldwide
recognition when she was featured as a young leader in both Jet and Time magazines, and later was honored with Mrs. Coretta Scott King at the United Nations
headquarters in New York City in 1990.
See photos of the week's events.
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Movie Screening - SELMA
3:00pm and 6:00pm
Lazy Hiker Sylva Taproom
The local NAACP hosted a special screening of the movie 'Selma' at the Lazy Hiker
Sylva Taproom and Mad Batter Kitchen. Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally
desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making
it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became
the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march
from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson
signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Saturday, January 25, 2020
MLK Days of Service
Various Times and Locations
Students at recent Tuck River Clean Up
It was a day on, not a day off--Through the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning volunteers signed and the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning took
care of all the logistics! Available projects were at a variety of service sites,
such as Catman2, the Cullowhee Community Garden, and more.
MLK Jr March 2020
MLK Jr. Unity March
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Pre March Poster Making
10:00 - 11:00 am
UC Multipurpose Room
The march unified community leaders, faculty, staff, and students in efforts to live
out the ideals and values that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held and believed in. The
march began after a brief introduction that highlighted the history of the march.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Let's Talk Colorism, BSU Speak and Paint
6:00 - 8:00 pm
While painting, students had the opportunity to hear from BSU on a very important
topic that divides many students of color and keeps them from organizing and building
strong communities based on cooperation and unity. This was a collaborative effort
with student organizations on campus to develop a program that unifies students and
allow them to join in the true spirit of MLK’s vision.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Dr. Oralene Simmons
Keynote Speaker Dr. Oralene Simmons
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Bardo Performing Arts Center
Dr. Oralene Simmons gave a presentation using this year's theme “Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr.'s Legacy of Connection: The Story of U.S.”.
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Indivisible Not Invisible:
Focus on Mental Health for Poor, Marginalized, and People of Color
6:00 - 8:00 pm
UC Multipurpose Room
An exploration of individual and societal stigmas that are derived from bias. This
program refocused the importance of mental health for marginalized students, faculty
Friday, January 24, 2020
8:00am - 5:00 pm
Blue Ridge Conference
Since 1984, NCBI has conducted effective diversity programs on hundreds of college
campuses. The National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) Campus Program is a premiere
curriculum to deliver inclusion, social justice, and conflict resolution work on campuses
of higher education. The program is unique in that it requires participants to begin
exploring and knowing ones’ self as one engages in the efforts of social justice.
The introspection required propels the work to be delivered in an authentic and personal
way. NCBI is a great resource in the tool belt of our skill sets. In this day of uncertainty
and changing landscapes on the international, national, regional, and local levels,
the NCBI program is needed more than ever on our college campuses.