Carnegie Mellon University

Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2022 Schedule of Events

Social Activism Through Service Projects

Monday, January 17


Volunteers will use phone banking as a part of our digital outreach strategy to reach community members and connect them to local food resources. Volunteers will be introduced to the basics of food insecurity in America, how the health pandemic & economic crisis have impacted hunger in this country, and what we can do to lift our neighbors. Following a provided outreach script, volunteers will then make calls and share information and assistance that could help families, including federal nutrition programs– which are vastly underutilized– and local emergency food sources. After phone banking, we debrief as a team to discuss what we learned and experienced. Time slots to volunteer are offered from 12pm – 1:30pm, 3:15pm – 4:45pm, and 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm (all EST). 

This event is sponsored by Student Leadership, Involvement, and Civic Engagement (SLICE).

Register for this service project opportunity.

Ideas on How to Give Back this MLK Day on January 17

Call your representatives and advocate for a social justice issue you care about.

Donate to a mutual aid fund for someone in your community needing resources and support.

Contact your local LGBTQ+ organization and inquire how you can support trans youth.

Collect non-perishable grocery items from your community and donate to your local food bank. You can also support our CMU Pantry with a donation or your time.

Organize a card-making night with your friends to deliver to a local hospital or nursing home.

Share a meal with a friend at a local BIPOC-owned restaurant.

Expand your world view and read about a social justice topic you are not familiar with or you want to learn more about.

Identify the anti-racist organizers in your community and ask how you can help.

Pittsburgh Builds Bridges

Monday, January 17 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. EST


The Center invites you to paint a mural with us and “Pittsburgh Builds Bridges” artist Ebtehal Badawi! Ebtehal Badawi is an international artist, writer, and photographer who has designed and led an anti-bullying and anti-racism movement which started with a Pittsburgh Builds Bridges poster. “Pittsburgh Builds Bridges” is now being used an inclusive and healing art piece that brings people from different backgrounds together, by inviting people from different backgrounds to paint together.
As an opportunity to create the CMU version of “Pittsburgh Builds Bridges”, we invite you to join Ebtehal on Zoom on Monday, January 17th from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. to participate in a guided reflection and painting session. There are two opportunities for folx to participate: A virtual template available for download or painting on a pre-sketched canvas. Folx can pick up the pre-sketched canvas, brushes, and paint on Friday, January 14 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. or Monday, January 17 from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in the Center. Register to indicate how you would like to participate. Please return your painted canvas to the Center by no later than Friday, January 21 by 5 p.m. to ensure that your art piece can be included in the mosaic Pittsburgh Builds Bridges Painting.

Register for the mural painting.

Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit

Friday, January 21 - Saturday, January 22


The Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit 2022 is an annual event where hundreds of organizers, artists, teachers, workers, students, community members, and policy makers gather virtually to address the centuries-long and global negative impact of white supremacy and colonization on communities of color and indigenous peoples in the United States and worldwide. Folx are encouraged to sign-up to the Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit newsletter to receive updated information about the summit and townhalls. Members of the Carnegie Mellon Community can register for free through the Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit website. Please contact the Center by emailing if you have any issues registering.

Register for the Summit.

Guided Meditation: Engaging in Virtual Activism

Monday, January 24 from 2:00 - 3:10 p.m. EST


Join The Center in community reflection on the legacy of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. We will engage in a mindfulness activity and guided, reflective discussion to honor the dream and vision of Dr. King in the new virtual world.

Register for the reflection.

Tartan Allies

Session One: Thursday, February 3 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Session Two: Wednesday, February 9 from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Session Three: Friday, February 18 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.


Tartan Allies was created by the Center with the goal of fostering a stronger ally network to our LGBTQIA2S+ community at Carnegie Mellon. Tartan Allies is made up of three progressive sessions that participants must complete in order, starting with Session One. Participants can complete all three sessions at their own pace. As our name suggests, being an ally is not a passive behavior. Good and effective allies listen, learn, and act. Join us for Tartan Allies sessions if you are interested in becoming part of this inclusive and supportive community.

Register for Session One on Thursday, February 3.

Register for Session Two on Wednesday, February 9.

Register for Session Three on Friday, February 18.

Diversity and Inclusion Network (DIN) Meeting

Thursday, February 3 from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. EST


Viviana Ferrer-Medina, Melissa Bilski, and Kym Jordan Simmons from CaPS (Counseling & Psychological Services) will be talking about culturally responsive/identity based counseling and resources.  Come to learn about their approach to their work, what is being offered and what resources are available.

Register for the DIN meeting.

The 2022 Annual Black Futures Summit Opening Keynote Lecture with Dr. Charles H.F. Davis III

Friday, February 4 at 6:00 p.m. EST


Save the date and register for the 4th Annual Black Futures Summit! Since the inaugural event in 2019, originally called the Black Male Summit, the Summit’s keynote lectures, workshops, and sessions have centered on better understanding, supporting, and enhancing the academic and social experience of the Black community at CMU. This year’s Summit continues in that spirit and will focus on taking collective action toward social justice and building communities of care. All summit events are open to all members of the CMU and greater Pittsburgh community.

Dr. Davis is currently an assistant professor in the Center for the Study of Higher Education and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan where he focuses on the research and teachings of race, racism, and resistance in education and society. For his engagement in Black Futures Summit, he will focus on the Black experience in academia, student activism and organizing, and creating a community of care for the joy of the Black community.

Register for the Black Futures Summit

2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Keynote Lecture featuring Soledad O'Brien

Tuesday, February 8 at 5:00 p.m. EST

Broadcast journalist, producer and philanthropist Soledad O'Brien will focus on disrupting and dismantling systemic racism by sharing voices and perspectives that often go unheard. Throughout, Soledad will bring the challenges of equality and justice into full view where they can be confronted and addressed. She will bring powerful, real world insights in selected U.S. cities where efforts are underway to reform policing, incarceration, education, land ownership and more. Soledad aims to leave audiences with a new understanding of how each of us can better understand and assist in dismantling systemic racism.

Register for the keynote lecture.

Black Futures Summit 2022:  Practicing Abolition, On-Campus and Beyond

Wednesday, February 9 from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. EST


Dr. Charles Davis will provide space for personal and professional reflection and practical application of abolition in student's everyday lives. Attendees will engage in a discussion of abolitionist practices on-campus and beyond.

Register for this workshop.

Khuraki: A Celebration of Afghanistan's Culture in Pittsburgh

Tuesday, February 15 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. EST

Rangos Ballroom, Cohon Center

Khuraki is an interactive theater performance with food and music designed to “challenge Americans’ perceptions about Afghanistan, while supporting a group of Afghan female refugees in their goal to start a collectively-owned food business in Pittsburgh”. Carnegie Mellon will be hosting this Pittsburgh Mayor’s Award for Public Art nominee project on February 15. It will be followed by a panel on the Afghan Transition on February 17. More details to come. Learn more about Khuraki.

Sponsored by the Center for Arts in Society, the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion, College of Fine Arts, the Department of History, the Department of Modern Languages, and the Institute for Politics and Strategy.

Produced by the creative leadership of Realtime Interventions.

Register for the live performance.

MLK Reading Series

Wednesday, February 16 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. EST


In February, the Center will be discussing We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina L. Love. More information on our selected readings is listed below.

The Center has limited copies of the MLK Selected Readings to distribute to community members. You can request a copy of the book on our registration form.

Register for February's MLK Selected Reading.

A Closer Look Into the Intersection of Class and First-Gen Status

Wednesday, February 16 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.


This is a two part workshop series so it is important to attend both sessions in order to get the most out of the experience. In order to be fully participate in session 2, you must attend session 1.

While these workshops focus on the First-Gen identity, you do not have to be First-Gen to attend and participate. All are welcome!

Session 1: Exploring and understanding what class is.

Join us for a shortened version of Class Action’s “Exploring Class” training.  The workshop will include a number of participatory exercises that help people think about their own class origins, the meaning of class, and the lack of discussion about class in the US.

Register for the first session.

Lives Uprooted: A Panel on the Transition in Afghanistan

Thursday, February 17 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. EST

Room 4242, Tepper Quad

Presented by the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion in partnership with the Institute for Politics and Strategy

This panel will feature discussions regarding America’s withdrawal of military forces in late August 2021 and how Pittsburgh was chosen as one of 19 American cities to serve as welcoming communities to house Afghan families.

The discussion, moderated by Ethan Pullman from the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, will focus on Afghan resettlement in the Pittsburgh area. The panel features Ivonne Smith-Tapia, the director of Refugee and Immigrant Services at Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh; Sohrab Bakhshi, contractor for the U.S. Military and former Afghan refugee, who personally experienced the transition when he was brought to the U.S. under a Special Immigrant Visa; historian Emanuela Grama, associate professor and director of Global Studies at CMU, who will discuss dislocation and its related side effects; and Daniel Silverman, assistant professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Politics and Strategy. Learn more about Khuraki.

Register for the panel.

Black Futures Summit 2022: Black Relationship Dialogue

Friday, February 18 from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. EST


Join Kym Jordan Simmons, PhD and Darrell Phillips, LCSW in a  participant led virtual discussion pertaining to the various relationships we engage in and the impact of the roles we have in our platonic, romantic, professional, personal, and any other types of relationships. Participants are strongly encouraged to come with questions about relationships to engage with the facilitators and relate to one another.

Register for this interactive discussion.

Black Futures Summit 2022: Building Wealth and Financial Literacy

Friday, February 18 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. EST


Join Andrew Burns, Thomas Powell, and Quinton Thomas as they discuss skillsets and knowledge to build financial literacy. They highlight financial literacy as a tool to build wealth through saving and investments. The facilitators will share their experience as Black men in this area. Participants are encouraged to come to this workshop with questions that the facilitators can address.

Register for this workshop.

Moving Up and Staying Down: A Dialogue about Race and Class Privilege

Wednesday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m. EST

Rangos 1 and Zoom

Presented by Thomas Rainey, Associate Director for Alumni and Community Engagement, University Advancement and Dr. Kevin Jarbo, Assistant Professor, Social and Decision Sciences. For many students, college plays a major part in getting out into the world and moving up in life. However, that same experience involves encounters with unfamiliar people in unfamiliar places, and feeling like you’ve left behind everyone and everything you knew and loved to become a different person. So how do we make sense of this experience of privilege while still being true to our culture and kinfolk to flourish wherever we find ourselves? Join Thomas and Kevin in this dialogue that centers the Black experience of moving up and staying down in college and what the community at CMU needs to thrive. Please register for the Zoom link.

Please register for this workshop.

A Closer Look Into the Intersection of Class and First-Gen Status

Thursday, February 24 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.


This is a two part workshop series so it is important to attend both sessions in order to get the most out of the experience. In order to be fully participate in session 2, you must attend session 1.

While these workshops focus on the First-Gen identity, you do not have to be First-Gen to attend and participate. All are welcome!

Session 2: Looking at being First-Gen and how that intersects with Class.

Engage in conversations about what it means to be First Gen, and how it intersects with class. Lastly, we will look at how to develop a set of skills that can be applied to attending any academic or professional development conference.

Register for the second session.


Linden Elementary School Children’s Art Exhibit

February 28, 2022 to March 4, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Kirr Commons, Cohon University Center

In partnership with Linden Elementary School, the Center hosts the annual MLK Children’s Art Exhibit. Join us in the showcase of Linden students’ art as they honor the memory of MLK and those of Black Artists. In March, stop by and support Linden students in this year’s Children’s Art Exhibit as we showcase the artwork that these students created.

Activism at CMU: from the Fence to the Front Lines

Tuesday, March 1 at 3:30 p.m. 

As a part of the Undergraduate Advocacy Committee Workshop series, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion and SLICE are partnering together to provide a workshop on activism, entitled “Activism at CMU: from the Fence to the Frontlines”. Join us for an opportunity to learn more about the history of activism at CMU- what has happened, what is currently happening, and what you can do to let your voice be heard! More details to come.

This event has been rescheduled from February 22.

Register for the workshop.

From Myth to Man: Martin Luther King, An Interpretation by Ira Knight

Wednesday, March 30 at 6 p.m.

Rangos 1, Cohon Center

Created and presented by Ira Knight—a playwright, producer, director, and author—this compelling and redefining one-man play features actor John Ivey as Martin Luther King.

A breathtaking performance that transforms the American civil rights and international human rights leader from mythical icon to authentic human being.  From Myth to Man is an enlightening, thoughtful, and engaging presentation of the many complex facets of the man that are rarely exposed: human, father, husband,  and brother.

This is not a mimicry, nor is it an impersonation effort. Rather, this original, thought-provoking performance inspires audiences to ask themselves the question, “What am I doing to make this world a better place?” Knight’s play is the archetype of bridge and mirror theater, or art that connects and reflect us as human beings. Following each performance, the Ira Knight and company welcomes questions and conversation with the audience.

This event has been rescheduled from January due to COVID-19 mitigations.

Register for the performance.

Interfaith Breakfast

Thursday, March 31 at 8:30 a.m. EST

Rangos Ballroom, Cohon Center

Every year, members of the Carnegie Mellon community are invited to an informal breakfast with campus and community interfaith leaders, followed by fellowship and conversation about the life and legacy of Dr. King through the lens of faith, activism, and social justice. Please join us for breakfast, music, conversation, and a keynote address.

This event has been rescheduled from January due to COVID-19 mitigations.

Sponsored by Religious and Spiritual Life Initiatives and the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion.

Register for the breakfast.

MLK Reading Series

Thursday, March 31 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. EST

Location to be determined.

In March, the Center will be discussing Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon. More information on our selected readings is listed below.

The Center has limited copies of the MLK Selected Readings to distribute to community members. You can request a copy of the book on our registration form.

Register for March's MLK Selected Reading.

MLK Reading Series

Tuesday, April 12 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. EST

Location to be determined.

In April, the Center will be discussing All About Love by bell hooks. More information on our selected readings is listed below.

The Center has limited copies of the MLK Selected Readings to distribute to community members. You can request a copy of the book on our registration form.

Register for April's MLK Selected Reading.

2022 Selected Readings

February 2022 Selected Reading

We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina L. Love



"Drawing on her life’s work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements. She argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying to repair a flawed system, educational reformers offer survival tactics in the forms of test-taking skills, acronyms, grit labs, and character education, which Love calls the educational survival complex. To dismantle the educational survival complex and to achieve educational freedom—not merely reform—teachers, parents, and community leaders must approach education with the imagination, determination, boldness, and urgency of an abolitionist."

March 2022 Selected Reading

Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon


"In 'Beyond the Gender Binary', Alok Vaid-Menon challenges the world to see gender not in black and white, but in full color. Taking from their own experiences as a gender-nonconforming artist, they show us that gender is a malleable and creative form of expression. The only limit is your imagination."

April 2022 Selected Reading

All About Love by bell hooks


"A New York Times bestseller and enduring classic, All About Love is the acclaimed first volume in feminist icon bell hooks' "Love Song to the Nation" trilogy.  All About Love reveals what causes a polarized society, and how to heal the divisions that cause suffering. Here is the truth about love, and inspiration to help us instill caring, compassion, and strength in our homes, schools, and workplaces."

Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Awards

Due to transition in program leadership, the awards competition and celebration will not take place this year.

We welcome you to revisit the 2020 Writing Awards with us in the video below.