UNC Asheville to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Week with Community Service, Special Events

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Marc Bamuthi Joseph will be the keynote speaker for Martin Luther King, Jr.Week at UNC Asheville
UNC Asheville will celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a series of special events January 17-24.

Although classes will not be in session on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, student volunteers will turn their day off into “A Day On,” by contributing a day of service to community organizations on January 20, and the week includes films, workshops and other special activities.

Dawn Porter, keynote speaker of the Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast at the Grove Park Inn, will screen her film, Gideon’s Army, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17 at Lipinsky Auditorium on campus. Porter, an attorney, produced this film to document the work of three public defenders in the South and the state of our criminal justice system as it deals with 12 million annual arrests. Travis Williams, one of the public defenders featured in Gideon’s Army, will join Porter in discussing the film after its showing. This free event is hosted by UNC Asheville in cooperation with the Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County.

UNC Asheville’s on-campus keynote address will be delivered by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, creator of Youth Speaks and co-founder of Life is Living. His talk is free and open to the public and will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 in Lipinsky Auditorium.

Joseph has been named one of America’s Top Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences, and was an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, which annually recognizes 50 of the country’s “greatest living artists.” He has been a popular commentator on National Public Radio, and has carried adjunct professorships at Stanford University, Mills College, and the University of Wisconsin. In his work with Youth Speaks, Joseph mentors 13-19 year old writers and curates the Living Word Festival for Literary Arts. He serves as artistic director of Life is Living, a series of festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks and affirm peaceful urban life through hip-hop arts and environmental action.

UNC Asheville also offers these additional events, free and open to the public, as part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week:

Social Justice: What Does It Mean to You?: A lunch and learn workshop will be held at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union Intercultural Center.

“American Promise” documentary screening: A documentary chronicling the lives of two young boys making their separate ways through one of the nation’s most prestigious private schools will screen at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union, Alumni Hall. This intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle with issues of race, class and opportunity.

Spoken Word and Poetry: The week will conclude with a poetry slam at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union, Grotto.

For more information, contact Lamar Hylton, director of UNC Asheville’s Intercultural Center and Multicultural Student Programs, at 828.251.6585 or msp.unca.edu.