Carnegie Mellon University
Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

Jan. 9: Carnegie Mellon Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21


Abby Houck                       

Carnegie Mellon Celebrates
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21

Speakers Explore Environmental Justice To Honor King's Legacy

PITTSBURGH — Members of the community are invited to participate in Carnegie Mellon University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Monday, Jan. 21. Classes scheduled after 12:30 p.m. will be canceled to encourage participation in a series of programs commemorating Dr. King's work. Many of this year's events focus on environmental justice, which examines how corporate and government policies disproportionately impact disadvantaged and minority communities.

Dyson"Our goal with this year's celebration is to move beyond some of the common themes associated with Dr. King's work," said M. Shernell Smith, coordinator of Diversity and Multicultural Initiatives in Carnegie Mellon's Division of Student Affairs. "At the end of his legacy, Dr. King was looking not just at issues of race, but he also became more broadly concerned with other areas of social justice. I believe environmental justice is social justice."

All programs will be held in Carnegie Mellon's University Center and are sponsored by the Office of the President and Student Affairs. The keynote address, "Martin Luther King for the 21st Century: Hip Hop, Environmental Justice and The State of Black America," will be given by acclaimed author and Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson at 5 p.m. in Rangos Hall.

The schedule of events is as follows:

  • 12:00-12:30 p.m.: Community Collage and Choral Tribute to Dr. King, Kirr Commons, First Floor
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m.: State of Diversity Address, Jared Cohon, Carnegie Mellon University President, McConomy Auditorium
  • 12:30-4:30 p.m.: Ongoing Exhibits and Activities; Artwork by fourth-grade students at Linden Academy will be on display in the University Center Art Gallery. Documentary films will play in the first and second floor lobby areas of the University Center, and Martin Luther King Jr. books will be available at the University Store and on the first floor of Hunt Library.
  • 12:30-4:30 p.m.: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Projects, McKenna Peter Wright Room
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m.:  Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Awards Presentation and Readings, Rangos Hall; Local high school students and Carnegie Mellon students will read personal narratives about racial difference and discrimination. The awards are sponsored by Carnegie Mellon's Creative Writing Program, the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of the President.
  • 2:00-3:00 p.m.: Children's Programs, Art Gallery, First Floor; Scott Kuechenmeister-Hall of Carnegie Mellon's Interfaith Council will present a puppet show.
  • 2:30-3:40 p.m.: Community Conversation: Environmental Justice In Pittsburgh, McConomy Auditorium; Panelists representing a variety of Pittsburgh-based organizations will discuss environmental justice issues within the region.
  • 4:30-5:00 p.m.: Candlelight Procession, begins in the Purnell Center lobby: Join members of the community to honor the work of Dr. King with a symbolic march for Civil Rights against racial segregation.
  • 5:00-6:30 p.m.: Martin Luther King for the 21st Century: Hip Hop, Environmental Justice and The State of Black America, Keynote address and reception with Michael Eric Dyson, followed by student speaker Ashley Renee Brown, Rangos Ballroom; Michael Eric Dyson is an ordained Baptist minister and author of 15 books, including "Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster" and "The True Martin Luther King Jr." Dyson also is a University Professor at Georgetown University, where he teaches theology, English and African-American studies.
Photo courtesy of Michael Eric Dyson