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WCU gears up for weeklong celebration honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Western Carolina University’s Martin Luther King Jr. weeklong celebration will feature a keynote address from Lisa Blackmon to highlight this year’s theme – “Building a Legacy of Leadership.”

Blackmon is the founder of Lifechangers International Inc., a leadership training organization, and the managing attorney for more than 25 years at Blackmon & Blackmon, LLC.

lisa blackmon

Lisa Blackmon

Blackmon is a certified leadership coach with a passion for motivating people into their purpose. She is also a member of the executive board for Jimmie Hale Mission, a charter member of the Black Women Lawyers Association, a charter member of the National Association of Women Business Owners and a member of the Volunteer Lawyers Program.

Her address will be Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the Hinds University Center  Grandroom.

Other MLK events include:

Monday, Jan. 16 – The annual MLK Jr. Unity March will begin with poster making at 10 a.m. in the UC Cardinal Room, followed by the annual march beginning at 11 a.m. at the Catafount.

The first of two service-learning opportunities will take place, hosted by the NAACP of Jackson County: 8–11 a.m. at Liberty Baptist Church and noon-3 p.m. at United Christian Ministries of Jackson County Food Pantry.

Tuesday, Jan. 17 – The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs is hosting “Civil Rights: The Latinx Story” from 10-11:30 a.m. in the UC Multipurpose Room. This talk will explore the Hispanic/Latino/a/Latinx/Latine civil rights timeline beginning in the early 20th century, highlighting key intersectional points with other communities.

The Center for Career and Professional Development is hosting an Employer DEI Panel from 4-5:30 p.m. in the UC Multipurpose Room. A panel of four employers will discuss their efoorts in DEI and be a resource for students to ask questions about their DEI initiatives. Students will get to speak with all the different employers in the room. Light hors d'oeuvres will be served.

The Student Government Association is hosting a Black History Celebration Brainstorm Townhall from 6-8 p.m. in the UC Multipurpose Room. SGA executive leaders invite student organizations and students to a brainstorming session to discuss plans and ideas for a Black History Celebration week taking place in February.

Wednesday, Jan. 18 Intercultural Affairs will host a keynote workshop titled “Who do men say I am?” from 10-11:30 a.m. in the UC Multipurpose Room.

Blackmon will give the keynote address at 5:30 p.m. in the UC Grandroom.

Thursday, Jan. 19 The Global Black Studies program and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. will host a luncheon and presentation from David Walton, director of the Global Black Studies program, on “Youth, Trauma, Gaslighting & PTSD: A Legacy of the 1960s and 1970s.” This event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Intercultural Affairs lounge, UC 227. This presentation will discuss lasting mental health effects of civil rights and Black Power activists. Lunch will be provided but space is limited. RSVP for the event on WCU ENGAGE.

Mentoring and Persistence to Success will host a First Generation Leaders Workshop from 5-6:00 p.m. in the Intercultural Affairs lounge, UC 227.

The second of two service-learning opportunities will take place, hosted by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and is a backpack donation drive from 2–4 p.m. on the second floor of the UC.

Friday, Jan. 20 Hunter Library will host a presentation on “The Civil Rights Movement and Counternarratives” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Library Classroom 186. This presentation will discuss counternarratives as an important methodology tool used during the Civil Rights Movement and other social movements, as well as share other research methodologies that were critical to the Civil Rights Movement.

The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and SGA will host “Thrive: Student Leadership Workshop” from 6-8 p.m. in the UC Multipurpose Room. In this workshop, student leaders will engage in a panel, give a presentation on what leadership looks like on WCU's campus and conduct leadership activities.

Last Minute Productions will host one of two screenings of the film “Till,” which tells the harrowing true story of Emmett Till, in the UC Theater.

Saturday, Jan. 21 Last Minute Productions will host the second screening of “Till” in the UC Theater.

Visit for the latest information, as well as registration links.

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