2018 MLK Events

The “Let Freedom Ring!” Initiative – led by co-chairs Patricia Grant, senior associate dean for the undergraduate program in the McDonough School of Business, and Andria Wisler, executive director of the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service – invites students, faculty and staff to participate in a week of events celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year, the Initiative provides the opportunity to continue the conversations on our campus about our capacity to bring about social change. Guided by Dr. King’s April 3, 1968 speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” we encourage all members of the university to reflect on urgent problems that demand social action, with the hashtag #LetGURiseUp.


“Teach Dr. King’s Speech” Cross-Campus Curricular Initiative (new window)

Faculty and staff are encouraged to teach and reflect on Dr. King’s 1968 speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” in their courses and campus spaces during the Spring 2018 semester. (original text) (speech) (audio)

Dr. Martin Luther King and Civil Rights Movement Book Display
2nd Floor, Georgetown University Bookstore

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Teach-In for Faculty and Staff: Teach Dr. King’s Speech  
11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Copley Formal Lounge, including lunch

RSVP here

Co-hosted by the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) and Center for Social Justice (CSJ), this Teach-In offers rich resources for teaching and reflecting on Dr. King’s 1968 speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” (original text) (speech) (audio). The session will feature a keynote address by Professor Clarence Hardy III, Ph.D. Professor Hardy will speak on the context of the United States at the time that Dr. King gave this speech and its implications for today. Faculty will offer reflections on their classroom experiences with Dr. King’s speech. Following the Q&A, CSJ and CNDLS will facilitate a working session for faculty and staff on how to intentionally incorporate the speech into the classroom and campus spaces and what issues to consider when doing so. 

Sunday, JANUARY 14, 2018

Spiritual Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
7:00 p.m.
St. William Chapel


Unarmed Civilian Protection
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Arrupe Multipurpose Room, Arrupe Residence Hall

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The Program on Justice and Peace (JUPS) invites you to join us for a training in the skill of unarmed civilian protection. This skill is sometimes referred to as unarmed peacekeeping and we will learn its application in the context of peace teamwork and Cure Violence’s “violence interrupters” public health approach. This workshop will be largely experiential and learning-by-doing. The skills learned can be applied in many facets of life, including university campus life scenarios, local community peacemaking (ex. Charlottesville protests or neighborhood shootings), and international conflicts. The co-facilitators will be Karen Volker, who is the Director of Strategic and International Partnerships for Cure Violence, overseeing programs in the West Bank and Syria; and Eli McCarthy, who is a Georgetown professor in Justice and Peace studies, past participant with Nonviolent Peaceforce in Palestine and present coordinator of the DC Peace Team.

The Kennedy Center and Georgetown University Present Let Freedom Ring! Celebration featuring Vanessa Williams and the John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award Presentation
6:00 p.m.
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The program features Vanessa Williams and the Let Freedom Ring! Choir, with Music Director Rev. Nolan Williams Jr. Georgetown University will award the 16th annual John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award to Mr. Steve Park, Executive Director of Little Lights Urban Ministries

6:00 p.m.
Healey Family Student Center Great Room

The Kennedy Center event will be live-streamed in the Healey Family Student Center Great Room. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.


Mass Incarceration and Solitary Confinement Exhibit
9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m, Daily from January 16-30, 2018 
ICC Galleria

The Prisons and Justice Initiative invites the Georgetown community to confront the dual realities of mass incarceration and solitary confinement–and the overwhelming racial disparities that apply to both–in contemporary America. From January 16 to January 30, a replica solitary confinement cell will be located in the center of the ICC Galleria. Visitors will be able to spend up to 30 minutes inside the cell, and afterwards they can share their reflections on the experience. Accompanying materials (posters and a video excerpt) and student volunteers will provide background information on these important issues–and people–that often remain overlooked or ignored. At least one formerly incarcerated individual will be on hand for part of each day in order to discuss the experience from their personal perspective. The exhibit will open on the morning of Tuesday, January 16, and it will close on the evening of Tuesday, January 30.  During this two-week period, the exhibit will be open during regular business hours.

We will also be hosting several associated public events that should be of broad interest to the Georgetown and Washington communities.

Throughout the days of Tuesday, January 16, and Wednesday, January 17, special guests from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) will provide several virtual reality goggles, which place viewers inside a solitary confinement prison cell and provide a 9-minute narrated and informative experience.

Supermax and The Threat to Human Dignity
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m
Copley Formal Lounge

Register here

On Tuesday, January 16, from 4-6 p.m. in Copley Formal Lounge, we will host a special panel discussion on solitary confinement, centered around a talk by leading psychiatrist Terry Kupers about his new book, Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It. Additional speakers will include Johnny Perez, Director of the U.S. Prisons Program at NRCAT, and several others who have personal experienced solitary confinement.


Kalief Browder and Rikers Island: An American Nightmare
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Copley Formal Lounge

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On Monday, January 29, from 7-9 p.m., we will host a partial showing and an engaged discussion of the extraordinary documentary “RIKERS: AN AMERICAN JAIL,” produced and commissioned by journalist Bill Moyers. The event will include a discussion with several survivors of Rikers Jail who are featured in the film. 

Put together, the two-week exhibit of a replica solitary confinement prison cell and accompanying materials, the two-day availability of virtual reality goggles, and the two special events dedicated to shedding light on mass incarceration and solitary confinement, should provide an extraordinary window on a dark and shameful American practice. We look forward to welcoming interested visitors who wish to share in this profound experience.


Book Talk and Breakfast: Becoming a Citizen Activist: Stories, Strategies and Advice for Changing Our World by Nick Licata
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m
Center for Social Justice, 130 Poulton Hall

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Enjoy a light breakfast and conversation with Nick Licata and reflect on various strategies for promoting effective social change. The first ten registrants who attend this event will receive a copy of Licata’s book, Becoming a Citizen Activist, Stories, Strategies and Advice for Changing Our World. Mr. Licata is from a working class family and was the first of his relatives to attend college. He led the local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Bowling Green State University and subsequently was elected student body president. He became a Seattle city councilmember despite being significantly outspent and the majority of the council, the mayor, and both daily newspapers supporting his opponent. Elected to five terms, in 2012 he was named by the Nation as Progressive Municipal Official of the Year and twice named Best Local Politician by the Seattle Weekly. While in office he sponsored and had adopted as legislation paid sick leave and a minimum $15 an hour wage for all employees in the city, a city-wide registration and inspection program for all rental units, required registration for all those lobbying city council, and created funding for cultural facilities throughout the city and initiated the city’s Civic Poet program. This event is hosted by the Center for Social Justice and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.


The Voice: Medical Edition – Candid Consciousness vs. Silent Protest
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Pre-Reception
Lohrfink Auditorium Lobby

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Panel Discussion
Lohrfink Auditorium

Co-hosted by Georgetown School of Medicine Student National Medical Association and Office of Diversity and Inclusion

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“The Voice, Medical Edition: Candid Consciousness vs. Silent Protests ” is a play off of the popular TV show The Voice, in which we will use an expert panel to help mold budding medical professionals into empowered clinicians. It is an interactive event in which everyone’s “voice” will be heard through live polling, and live question submission. We intend to openly discuss the unique position of the socially conscious physician given the current climate of racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, gender and sexual identity bias. Our goal is for this to be a candid discussion where we address real issues with real language and real emotions and opinions. The purpose of the event is to generate healthy and honest dialogue around these issues and brainstorm solutions as they play a very significant role in our practice as current and future physicians.


Policing the Black Man: Intersections of Race & Criminal Justice
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Scott K. Ginsburg Sport and Fitness Lobby, Georgetown University Law Center – 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW

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Join us in conversation with Professor Angela Davis (AU Washington College of Law), Dean Kristin Henning (GULC), Renée Hutchins (UM Carey Law), and Roger Fairfax (GW Law) about their book, Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment, addressing one of the most urgent racial justice issues today as we commemorate Black History Month.

This event is sponsored by the Georgetown University Law Center’s Office of Equity, Community, and Inclusion in collaboration with the Black Law Students Association, Juvenile Justice Clinic, and the Women of Color Collective. 


MLK Evening of Hope and Resistance
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Healey Family Student Center Social Room

Express your interest to perform (spoken word, music, poetry) or display your visual art.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a master orator. He understood that words have power as time-and-time again, he so eloquently used his voice to shed light on injustices. This year, Georgetown University honors Dr. King’s legacy of captivating heads, hearts, and hands through an evening of spoken word, poetry, and music highlighting his speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” (original text) (speech) (audio). We hope that through this evening of reflection and artistic expression we can stir imaginations for change and hope for the future. The evening will consist of original spoken word and poetry readings, musical performances from students and organizations, as well as a visual art share. We will also have service activities to support low-income youth, and families. Food will be provided. This event is hosted by the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service.


Black Panther Private Screening
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
AMC Loews Georgetown – 3111 K Street, NW


Post-Film Discussion
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
The Black House – Georgetown University

RSVP Here for Screening & Discussion

Join the GU Black Student Alliance and the Black House for a private screening and subsequent discussion of Marvel’s upcoming film Black Panther. Sign up for a chance to experience this groundbreaking film in theaters with other members of the Georgetown community! Then on the following day, attend a discussion at the Black House where we will discuss themes present in the movie such as colonization, afro-futurism, and black representation in Hollywood.


Book Talk: Making College Work – Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students by Harry Holzer and Sandy Baum
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., including lunch
Healey Family Student Center Social Room

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This event will feature Harry Holzer, Professor of Public Policy at the McCourt School at Georgetown University, and Sandy Baum, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, and their newly released book, Making College Work – Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students, published by Brookings Institution Press. Their book highlights practical solutions for improving higher education opportunities for economically diverse students. This event is part of a year-long recognition of the 50 years of the Georgetown University’s Community Scholars Program in the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access. The first 40 people to register for this event will receive a copy of the book at the event.

Report Release: African American Employment, Population, and Housing Trends in Washington, D.C. featuring Professor Maurice Jackson
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Arrupe Multipurpose Room

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This panel event will spotlight Professor Maurice Jackson’s engaged scholarship and service as the first Chair of the DC Commission on African American Affairs, appointed by DC Mayor Vincent Gray in 2013. Dr. Jackson, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, will present findings from his compelling DC-based research documented in this publication, African American Employment, Population, and Housing Trends. Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity, Rosemary Kilkenny, Esp., will open the event. After Professor Jackson’s remarks, Heidi Tseu, Director of Local Government Affairs, and Dr. Eva Rosen, Assistant Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy, will offer comments. A reception will follow the panel event.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Outspoken: Rise Up
7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Outspoken will be in Bulldog Alley, instead of the Healy Family Student Center Social Room as previously stated. 

Join GU NAACP and GU Women of Color at the intersection of activism and art for their annual open mic night. Outspoken is an event that brings together the Georgetown community for performance of spoken word, song, and dance. We are pleased to have special guest Anthony McPherson performing at this year’s event.

Questions about this event can be directed to Ndeye Ndiaye, nkn11@georgetown.edu.

Wednesday, March 14

Black Politics: Past and Present
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Arrupe Multi-purpose Room

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Join the GU Black Student Alliance, GU College Democrats and GU College Republicans for a candid discussion about the historical and current political participation of black Americans. This student-moderated conversation will broach topics such as the evolution of African-American party affiliations, what the American political landscape looks like for black people in the current political moment, and how Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy of social justice plays a role in black politics today. The interactive event aims to be both compelling and informative. Food will be provided.

SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018

At the River I Stand – Film Screening
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Arrupe Multipurpose Room, Arrupe Residence Hall


As the first of two days of engaging events centered on Memphis and its connection to Martin Luther King’s legacy, please join us for dinner and screening of the documentary, At the River I Stand. Directed by David Appleby, Allison Graham, and Steven Ross, At the River I Stand transports viewers back to Memphis in 1968 through newsreel footage, still photos, and interviews. It tells the story of Memphis’ black sanitation workers, who walked off the job to protest inhumane conditions, low pay, and the recent deaths of two of their own while on the job. This strike was a critical moment of the civil rights movement, as it drew together the movement for labor rights and economic dignity with the struggle for equal rights and justice for black Americans. Their strike lasted 65 days and ended in success, but also the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., who came to Memphis to support the workers and promote the Poor People’s Campaign.

Dinner will be provided, and there will be a post-film discussion led by Sarah Stiles, Teaching Professor in the Department of Sociology. This event is hosted by the Center for Social Justice and the Doyle Film and Culture Series at the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship.

Monday, March 19

Memphis: How a City Atones for Killing King
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
Arrupe Multipurpose Room, Arrupe Residence Hall
Lunch will be provided.

RSVP here

Nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Memphis to support low-wage workers being mistreated by a segregationist mayor and disrespected by white power brokers. Today, Memphis is the poorest large metro area in the nation – the result of a series of choices that keep workers poor and black residents on the margins. Award-winning journalist and longtime Memphian Wendi C. Thomas will explore what the city has done with King’s sacrifice, the good and the bad. Thomas is the editor and publisher of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a yearlong nonprofit reporting project focused on economic justice. We will also hear reflections from two Georgetown students, Kamar Mack (C’19) and Peri Beckerman (C’20). This event is hosted by the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Center for Social Justice, Journalism Program, and Film and Media Studies Program.


Whose Promised Laned? Panel Discussion and Reception
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
5th Floor Chamber, The John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW


The Council of the District of Columbia and Georgetown University will co-host a panel discussion to reflect on 1968 in Washington, DC, following the assassination of Dr. King. Panel participants will include Virginia Ali (Ben’s Chili Bowl), the Honorable Arrington Dixon (former Chairman, Council of the District of Columbia), Professor Maurice Jackson (Georgetown University), the Honorable Charlene Drew Jarvis (former Ward 4 Councilmember), and Father Raymond Kemp (Georgetown University). The event will be followed by a light reception.


Chaplains’ Tea & Prayer for Peace and Justice Honoring Dr. King
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM 
Campus Ministry Hallway, Healy Hall Foyer

Campus Ministry’s chaplains and staff welcome the Let Freedom Ring! Initiative to Chaplains’ Tea on April 3rd in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s Speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” We’ll bring the tea and snacks, you bring the conversation. Immediately after, please join us for our weekly Prayer for Peace and Justice at 3:50 p.m.


Service Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th Anniversary of his Assassination
5:30 PM 
Featuring a performance by Jason Moran, Distinguished Artist in Residence at Georgetown University, composer for the film Selma; and a sermon by Eric Williams, Ph.D., Curator of Religion, Center for the Study of African American Religious Life at the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Dahlgren Chapel
Reception to follow in Dahlgren Quadrangle

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