OHIO to celebrate legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ohio University will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in January 2022. The University’s 21st annual celebration, with the theme, “UNITY, CommUNITY, and OpportUNITY,” will take place Jan. 17-22.

Each year, Ohio University honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with inclusive OHIO and regional communities’ tributes that highlight equality and social justice. We honor Dr. King for his work toward racial equality and justice for all people and for his dedication to nonviolence. 

The events are sponsored by the Ohio University Division of Diversity and Inclusion and are coordinated by the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee. This year the committee is co-chaired by Travis Gatling, director of the School of Dance in the College of Fine Arts, and Vanessa Morgan-Nai, coordinator for Multicultural Advising and African American Student Success, Office of Multicultural Success and Retention (OMSAR). 

The committee includes current student members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Phi Chapter, Phi Chapter alumni, and other members of the fraternity, which annually sponsors the Silent March and Brunch held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Ohio University. 

“As we prepare for the new year and this year’s MLK Jr. celebration, I hope we can fully embrace the theme selected by the Celebration Committee – UNITY, CommUNITY, and OpportUNITY,” said Dr. Gigi Secuban, vice president of diversity and inclusion and ex-officio member of the Celebration Committee. “I hope this year’s celebration gives us time to reflect the ways we can come together, in UNITY, as one commUNITY, embracing the opportUNITY to create an anti-racist, inclusive and equitable OHIO and local communities in which we serve. I am proud of the work the organizing committee and our entire community is doing in support of this vision.”

The week-long celebration kicks off with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Brunch held in the Baker Center Ballroom on Monday, Jan. 17. The featured speaker for this year’s brunch is Pat Russell-McCloud, Esq.

Russell-McCloud is a “visual speaking experience.” With more than 20 years on the lecture circuit, she is categorized as being one of the nation’s best. Her speaking style is engaging, highly substantive, well-researched, pertinent to her audiences, and entertaining, whether for the public or private sector. She is distinguished and distinct. Her style is classified as “big, broad and animated,” which leaves her audiences anxious for more.

She has received many honors, including being presented more than 300 keys to American cities. She has served as the 11th National President of The Links, Inc., and the National Parliamentarian to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She has been named as one of the top five business motivators in the country by Black Enterprise Magazine; identified as one of the top 10 speakers in “America, Success Run in Our Race;” featured in ESSENCE Magazine, and in EBONY magazine as one of the most influential people in the United States; 2017 Inductee, HBCU Hall of Fame – Lifetime Achievement; and featured as the cover story of SPEAKER magazine, National Speaker’s Association 2007 (July/August Issue).

The MLK Jr. Celebratory Brunch details and ticket information are included below:

Monday, Jan. 17 (National MLK Jr. Day)

Silent March

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: Galbreath Chapel

Sponsor: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

The Silent March will begin in front of Galbreath Chapel and end at the fourth-floor entrance of Baker University Center. This event is open to the public.

MLK Jr. Celebratory Brunch with Featured Speaker – Patricia Russell-McCloud, Esq.

Time: 11 a.m.

Location: Baker University Center Ballroom

Sponsors: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., MLK Jr. Celebration Committee, others to be announced.

The annual brunch will include dance and vocal performances and feature a keynote address by Pat Russell-McCloud, Esq.

Ticket prices: Non-student brunch tickets are $25 each; OHIO student brunch tickets are $15 each. Non-student sponsorships (includes a table of six seats) are $300 per table, OHIO student sponsorships (includes a table of six seats) are $150 per table, Individuals, departments, organizations, and companies that purchase a table will be recognized as event sponsors.

A $500 Celebration sponsorship for all of the week’s events is also available. This includes a table for six at the brunch, with certificate of sponsorship to be presented during the brunch program.

Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased online or by contacting the Division of Diversity and Inclusion at [email protected].

The University’s celebration will continue throughout the week and below is a preliminary list of events.

Tuesday, Jan. 18

Featured speaker: The Rev. Dr. Bernard LaFayette Jr., moderated by the Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr.

Time: 7 to 8 p.m.

Location: This event will be held virtually and registration and details will be forwarded in early January.

Sponsors: OHIO’s regional campuses and MLK Jr. Planning Committee

Rev. Dr. LaFayette, one of the original Freedom Fighters, is an American civil rights activist and organizer who was a leader in the civil rights movement. He played a leading role in early organizing of the Selma voting rights movement; was a member of the Nashville Student Movement; and worked closely throughout the 1960s movements with groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the American Friends Service Committee.

The Rev. Dr. Bernard LaFayette Jr.
The Rev. Dr. Bernard LaFayette Jr.

Wednesday, Jan. 19

Well-being Wednesday Resource Fair

Time: 4 to 6 p.m.

Location: Baker 240 and 242

Sponsor: MLK Jr. Celebration Committee

Thursday, Jan. 20

Bridging the Gap: Unifying Our Community

Time: Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Location: Baker 240 and 242

Sponsors: Bobcats Lead Change and MLK Jr. Celebration Committee

“Why Justice Seekers Need Co-Conspirators More than Allies”

Time: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Location: Hosted virtually via Teams

Sponsor: MLK Jr. Celebration Committee

In this forum, participants will consider the limitations of allyship while discovering steps they can take to work as co-conspirators who live in solidarity with justice-seeking people and communities.

Facilitator: The Rev. Jack Sullivan Jr., D.Min., D.D., (BSC ’83), executive director of the Ohio Council of Churches and Recipient of the 2020 Social Justice Award from the State of Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission.

Friday, Jan. 21

Variety Show

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: Baker University Center Theatre (second Floor)

Sponsor: MLK Jr. Celebration Committee

Saturday, Jan. 22

Day of Service – Letter Writing Campaign

Time: 1 to 3 p.m.

Location: 29 Park Place (Academic Engagement Center)

Sponsor: MLK Jr. Celebration Committee

Other community service activities will be announced in January.

More information and details about the celebration’s events will be released the first week of January. Visit OHIO’s 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration webpage for more information and to register to attend the events.

Related University events for the week can be submitted to or viewed on the Calendar of University Events.

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