Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

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UNC’s MLK Jr. Celebration is part of a campus-wide initiative to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his legacy, and his ideals. Carolina began its celebrations of Dr. King’s life and legacy in 1983, long before there was a federal holiday. UNC is the only university ever awarded the “Making of the King Holiday Award” by the former MLK Federal Holiday Commission. UNC-CH engages in honoring King’s legacy through several efforts: MLK Celebration and Committee; MLK University and Community Corporation; Day of Service, and the UNC MLK Scholarship Program for UNC juniors.

UNCMLK2017 Schedule of Events

This page is being updated with the most current information

Sunday, January 15

University/Community Annual MLK Banquet
Location: Friday Center for Continuing Education
6:00 PM (reception at 5:00 PM)
Tickets: $30
To purchase tickets or for additional information, please contact Diversity Celebrations Co-coordinator, Cameron Congleton, at

The week begins with the 32nd annual University/Community Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Banquet and Award Presentation, hosted by the MLK Jr. Corporation in partnership with UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. The MLK University/Community Planning Corporation, a non-profit group founded in 1993, raises scholarship funds for high school students in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County and UNC students who work to improve the quality of life for everyone in the community. Each year, the Corporation also honors citizens in “recognition of enduring service to humanity by word and by deed” through the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizenship Awards.

Monday, January 16

MLK Day of Service 5K – “The Time is Now”
Location: Old Well on Cameron Avenue
7:00 AM
Registration: $25
Carolina R.O.C.T.S. (Rejuvenating Our Community Through Service) will sponsor its 14th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for Service. This opportunity allows individuals and groups to participate in projects at various locations in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. This event is co-sponsored by Fleet Feet, the Department of Housing and Residential Education, and Diversity and Multicultural Affairs along with the generous support of the Parents Council Grant program.

In keeping with Dr. King’s bridge-building work, the fundraiser will benefit the Faith Danielle Hedgepeth Award created by the American Indian Center in collaboration with Alpha Pi Omega Sorority Inc., Phi Sigma Nu, Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and the Carolina Indian Circle. Faith was an indomitable spirit and part of the DMA family. We are so excited to honor her legacy of commitment to the Tar Heel community.

To learn more about ROCTS and the Day of Service agenda and activities, please visit

MLK Day Rally, March and Worship Services – “Building on Yesterday’s Dream”
Location: Franklin Street and First Baptist Church, Chapel Hill
9:00 AM
Registration: Open to All
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro and UNC-CH chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will sponsor its annual Martin L. King Jr. Day Rally, March and Worship Service. Meet for the rally at 9:00 a.m. and then join our march down Franklin Street. The march will end at Historic First Baptist Church (106 North Roberson Street, Chapel Hill). At 11:00, the church service will commence. There will also be choir performances and a brief ceremony honoring those who have served in our community.

He was a Poem, He was a Song”
Location: Sonja Haynes Stone Center
7:00 PM
Registration: Open to All
A tribute to the legacy of Dr. King in verse and song, featuring local choirs, including the Hillside High School Choir from Durham, NC. The program will also include poetry and spoken word performances.This event is FREE and Open to the public. Sponsored and organized by Sonja Haynes Stone Center. RSVP here.

TUESday, January 17

MLK Celebration Keynote Lecture and Awards Ceremony
Location: Memorial Hall
7:30 PM
Tickets: Free, but requires reservation

For group tickets please email Diversity Celebrations Co-coordinator, Jordan Peterkin at

The lecture provides an opportunity to hear from national thought leaders on the importance of social justice, unity, action, and/or service.  This year, esteemed journalist and executive producer Soledad O’Brien will deliver the lecture.  Additionally, the Keynote Lecture program will also include two special presentations: MLK Scholarships (awarded to a college junior) and MLK Unsung Hero Awards (awarded to an UNC staff/faculty or department or a community/corporate entity). Tickets are currently available online and at the Carolina Performing Arts box office.

wedneSday, January 18

Intersectional Look at Minority Movements
Location: Anne Queen Lounge, Campus Y
6:30 PM
Tickets: Free, but requires RSVP

The MLK Committee of UNC-Chapel Hill will be creating a space to honor and remember the movements and leaders of the American Indian, African-American, and LatinX communities. Sponsored by UNC Student Government and the Carolina Indian Circle. RSVP here.

Screening of Ava DuVernay’s “13th”
Location: Sonja Haynes Stone Center
7:00 PM
Registration: Open to All

This event will include a discussion and screening of the documentary “13th,” about mass incarceration. From the “convict leasing” of former slaves after 1865, to the criminalization of civil rights activism in the 1960s, to the craven politicking that used images of black criminality to win elections in the 1970s and ’80s, the story of how we got to our present moment is devastating in its coherence. Through interviews with a cast of experts that includes The New Jim Crow author Michelle Alexander, New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb, CNN commentator Van Jones, and Alabama-based justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, DuVernay’s film issues a warning: None of what’s happened has been an accident, and all of it has depended on the participation of rational people -The Slate. Sponsored and organized by Sonja Haynes Stone Center.

thursday, January 19

How to Keep Going When Change Isn’t Happening
Location: Anne Queen Lounge, Campus Y
Registration: Open to All

There are times in social movements when change seems stagnant or reversed. As activists and allies, we must resist the urge to give up on the issues that plague our society. Come hear how students, leaders, and activists persevere through discouraging times. From racism to LGBTQ rights to environmental activism, leaders from various social movements will share what they do, how you can get involved, and how we all can keep the faith. This event is sponsored by the Black Student Movement, Advocates for Carolina and NC Hillel.

Friday, January 20

“Still We Rise”
Location: Sonja Haynes Stone Center
Registration: Open to All

The Campus Y, CHispA, and the Women’s Center will sponsor this culminating event that brings together different groups and voices on campus in a night of celebration and unity. The purpose of this event is to create a space in which different cultures can be presented and celebrated. In juxtaposition to divisive rhetoric that has ensued from the recent political climate we celebrate the diversity that is present in the United States. This event will shine light into an array of cultures that often times become marginalized and misrepresented. With dance and music, this event will foster an environment of beautiful diversity that will foster a sense of unity.

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