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MLK Jr. Celebration

Martin Luther King Jr.

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 2019 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 2019 celebration launches with the annual Unity March and includes days of service, events sponsored by student organizations, a keynote and workshops with the speaker and concludes with a Poverty Simulation.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Aminata Cairo, the Lector of Inclusive Education at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands, is our keynote speaker. In her applied anthropological work with students and community organizations, she has continually strived to promote inclusion at both the academic and the community level.  She received the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian award at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2013 for her efforts. Dr. Cairo is committed to use her academic work to empower those who have been silenced, marginalized, or otherwise overlooked, and takes great effort to include students in that process. 

Celebration Events

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Women's March in Asheville - 11:00 am

Join the Queens of WCU, Alpha Phi Alpha, The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, and the Department of Social Work and participate in the Women's March in Asheville. The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists & organizers to engage in their local communities through trainings, outreach programs and events. Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.


Monday, January 21, 2019

MLK Days of Service - 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Make it a day on, not a day off--volunteer during one of Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning's days of service. Interested students can sign up on Engage, then show up for their project-- the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning will take care of all the logistics! Available projects will be at a variety of service sites, such as Catman2, the Cullowhee Community Garden, and more.  Regiser Here

MLK Jr. Unity March - 12:00 - 2:00 pm

MLK Jr. unity march

2017 Unity March

Meet at the Fountain

The march will unify 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 will begin after a brief introduction that will highlight the history of the march. The march will begin at the UC and stop at Scott, HFR, Walker and will end behind the UC. This event will be a DegreePlus event and eligible for R&R credit.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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Community Service -  12:00 - 5:00 pm UC Multipurpose Room

We hope you can join us in making hygiene bags for the homeless people in the surrounding areas. We will also be making backpacks for 24 kids in an after-school program housed at the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center.  All are welcome.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Organized Labor in the United States - 5:30 - 7:00 pm Stillwell 244

Dr. Dwayne Tutt, the Associate Director for Institutional Research at WCU, will be giving a lecture about the religious and economic ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Tutt has an interesting background in both economics and religious studies, which creates unique dialogue. This event will be a DegreePlus event and eligible for R&R credit.

Unity Program -  7:00 - 9:00 pm ICA Lounge

A collaborative effort among student organizations which will allow students to come together in the full spirit of Dr. King's vision. We will continue making care packages while supplies allow. We will also create dream boards and play Kahoot! of historical trivia. This event will be a DegreePlus event and eligible for R&R credit.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Keynote Speaker Dr. Aminata Cairo - 7:00 - 9:00 pm Bardo Performing Arts Center

Dr. Aminata Cairo

Dr. Aminata Cairo

Dr. Aminata Cairo will be giving a presentation called “Re-Defining Us in All of Our Richness”. With the theme “Defining America,” Western Carolina University has taken a bold step in creating a vision. Defining is an action verb. Awareness of inequalities and accompanying challenging interactions grace our world on all levels and make their way into our educational habitat. This begins by actively defining embracing and working on who we want to be.

Dr. Aminata Cairo will take us on an explorative journey inspiring us to action. There will be a meet and greet with Dr. Cairo with after the speech. This event will be a DegreePlus event and eligible for R&R credit


Thursday, January 24, 2019 

Inclusivity Training Toolkit with Dr. Cairo 

Imagine a world in which you are able to comfortably deal with the diversity of the many humans you are meant to encounter and inspire. How do you do that? Whether in a leadership position, or member of a working team, the world is looking for people who can engage and create change.  Aminata will take you on an experiential (and experimental) journey to give you some hands-on tools to address some of the human interactions that might be difficult at times.  Come open to experience and learn something different. In order to make it in your career you need more than intellectual capacities, you need to be able to connect with and relate to others as well. This event will be a DegreePlus event and eligible for R&R credit. 

Faculty and Staff Session 9:00 am – 10:30 am     Register to Participate
Student Session 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm     Register to Participate
Location: Raleigh Room

Poverty Simulation - 4:00 - 7:00 pm UC Grandroom

Poverty simulation event

Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families. Unless you have experienced poverty, it's difficult to truly understand. The Poverty Stimulation bridges that gap from misconception to understanding.

This simulation is an interactive, immersion experience that sensitizes participants to the realities of poverty. This event will be a DegreePlus event and eligible for R&R credit.

Register to Participate


 Saturday, January 26, 2019 

students at tuck river cleanup

Students at recent Tuck River Clean Up

MLK Days of Service - 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Make it a day on, not a day off and volunteer your time. Interested students can sign up on Engage, then show up for their project-- the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning will take care of all the logistics! Available projects will be at a variety of service sites, such as Catman2, the Cullowhee Community Garden, and more.

Register Here

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