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University Celebrates MLK With Week of Events

2012 MLK Celebration Logo with image of Martin Luther King over textGeorgetown's week of events honoring Martin Luther King Jr. begins with the annual Let Freedom Ring concert.

January 9, 2012 – Georgetown will honor the life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with a week of musical, academic, theatrical, spiritual and service events, Jan. 16-21.

The annual Let Freedom Ring concert, sponsored by Georgetown and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, kicks off the university’s weeklong celebration with a performance by Grammy Award-winner Bobby McFerrin on King’s birthday, Jan. 16. A live webcast of the event will be available starting at 6 p.m.

The presentation of the 2012 John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award to scholar and former King speechwriter Clarence Jones also takes place that evening.

An Annual Gift

“Georgetown is honored to continue our annual tradition of celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., especially through our partnership with the Kennedy Center and with the participation of so many members of the Washington, D.C., community,” President John J. DeGioia said. “I am deeply grateful for the commitment and contribution of all those who make this gift to the Washington, D.C. community possible each year.”

The week also includes a Jan. 17 panel discussion with history professors Marcia Chatelain and Joseph McCartin, sociology professor Leslie Hinkson, government professor Mark Rom and Rev. Raymond Kemp, senior research fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center.

The panel will discuss the ties between King’s work in social and economic justice and the current Occupy Wall Street movement.

Moving the Masses

“It’s important to commemorate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his discovery of voice to move the masses,” said Rev. Bryant Oskvig, co-chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration committee. “We celebrate the successes, but the work is definitely ongoing. That can be seen in the Occupy movement as it seeks to engage people in economic justice.”

Oskvig, the university’s Protestant chaplaincy director, and Michael Smith, associate director of institutional diversity, equity and affirmative action, are sharing the coordination of the university’s MLK festivities.

“The week of events does a good job of providing context for the impact of Dr. King’s legacy while providing current voices that are relevant to today’s issues,” Smith said. “I hope the week sparks great spiritual and intellectual dialogue among the university community of students, faculty and staff and the D.C. community as well.”

History professor Maurice Jackson and Melody Fox Ahmed of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs will be among the faculty and staff delivering reflections inspired by King’s work on Jan. 19.

Day of Service

The university will wrap up the week with a day of community service in various parts of D.C.’s Ward 7 on Jan. 21. Members of the university community will spend time working for and among local community members and organizations.

“We wanted to emphasize the importance of service since President Obama designated MLK Day as a day of service,” Oskvig said, “and because it falls in line with the university’s mission of being women and men for others. It’s the opportunity to connect faith and service in action.”