Auburn University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week to feature speakers, service opportunities

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Auburn University will kick off its Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Celebration Week with a breakfast featuring Quinton Ross, president of Alabama State University, as the keynote speaker. The event will take place at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

Also that day, the university’s Black Student Union and Alternate Student Breaks organizations are heading to Selma, Alabama, for a day of service. Students will volunteer at designated sites including SABRA Sanctuary, Selma Area Food Bank and a housing project. After volunteering, students will take tours around downtown to learn more about the rich civil rights history that occurred in Selma, with a stop at Selma’s Interpretive Center where they will have the opportunity to take a literacy test that African Americans were formerly forced to take to be able to vote. At the end of the day, the student group will march Edmund Pettus Bridge in remembrance and honor of those who fought for people’s rights to vote.

The Office of Inclusion and Diversity, or OID, is hosting a trip Jan. 21 to Montgomery for a visit to the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. All members of the university and community are invited to join OID for this event.

A community kickoff for the MLK Celebration Week events is set for Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 5 p.m. on the Thach Concourse. The kickoff will include a candlelight vigil and performances by student organizations to memorialize Dr. King’s legacy through word and song. Following the kickoff, Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative will give a lecture at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center as part of the Critical Conversations Speaker Series. The Office of Inclusion and Diversity will present the Unsung Hero Award after the lecture.

Events for Wednesday, Jan. 23, include a talk on the “Criminalization of Poverty” with Sara Wood from 12-1:30 p.m. in the Student Center and a documentary screening of “Barry” at 7 p.m. in the Auburn Alumni Center.

Four professors in the College of Liberal Arts—David Carter, Kelly Kenniston, Austin McCoy and Guy Mount—will host a lunch and learn panel Thursday, Jan. 24 in the Student Center. They will discuss “The Problem of the Color Line in the 21st Century – Reflections on Race Relations in American History.”

A training session to teach participants various methods to rise above hate and build an inclusive community is set for Friday, Jan. 25. The reconciliation training will help participants get out of their comfort zones in order for them to dig deeper into the purpose of their individual roles and their personal “why”. The training focuses on developing leadership and empowering each participant to help build an even more committed and connected community. Participants will earn a certificate following the completion of the workshop.

The final event of the week is a day of service set for Saturday, Jan. 26. Participants will travel to sites in Lee County to spread Dr. King’s message through service.

For more information and to register for the MLK Celebration Week events, go to

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.