Martin Luther King, Jr. Initiative

Let Freedom Ring!

2016 Week of Events

Each year, Georgetown University honors the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through a series of events during the month of January.  Based on a central theme drawn from Dr. King’s life, work, and legacy, Georgetown students, faculty, and staff plan and participate in a week of events both on campus and in the greater Washington, DC community. The MLK Week planning committee is Co-Chaired by Dr. Andria Wisler, Executive Director of the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service and Dr. Patricia Grant, Associate Dean, McDonough School of Business.

All members of the Georgetown community are welcome to participate in planning the 2016 MLK Week.  Interested individuals are invited to attend the inaugural planning committee meeting of the year, to be held on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 9:30 AM in the Office of the President, 207 Healy Hall.  

2015 Celebration Honors Bread for the City's George Jones; Natalie Cole Performs

Georgetown University’s annual Let Freedom Ring Initiative honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., through celebration and dialogue examining King’s life and work.  All are invited to participate in these events.

On January 19, 2015, last year's Let Freedom Ring Celebration was held at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.  At the event, The John Thompson, Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award was presented to George Jones, chief executive officer of Bread for the City and longtime advocate for the fight against poverty in Washington, D.C.  Bread for the City serves vulnerable city residents with comprehensive services including food, clothing, medical care and legal and social services.

Nine-time Grammy Award winner Natalie Cole performed a musical tribute honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., with the Let Freedom Ring Choir led by Rev. Nolan Williams, Jr.  

To read more about last year's awardee, please click here.

Georgetown and the March on Washington

During the 2014 celebration week of the Georgetown University Let Freedom Ring Initiative, members of the Georgetown community shared their experiences from the March on Washington and their personal interactions with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) offered special introductory remarks, while Prof. Richard America, Rev. Raymond Kemp, SJ, Prof. Deborah Tannen, and Rabbi Harold White shared reflections during a panel discussion.

Legacy of a Dream Award

Each year during the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration week, the University presents The John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award to an individual or organization whose contributions to community service or social justice reflect the values and ideals of Dr. King.

Past Recipients

2015 - George Jones, Bread for the City

2014 - Lecester Johnson, Academy of Hope

2013 - Mary Brown, Life Pieces to Masterpieces

2012 - Professor Clarence Jones

2011 - Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery

2010 - Dikembe Mutombo, Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, Inc.

2009 - Marian Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund

2008 - Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

2007 - Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS

2006 - Mrs. Rosa Parks (posthumous)

2005 - Colin and Alma Powell

2004 - William H. Gray III, president and CEO, UNCF

2003 - Coach John Thompson, Georgetown University Men's Basketball (1972-1999)