MLK Jr. Days of Dialogue to present virtual programs at UW

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Four virtual programs will highlight the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue (MLK DOD) Feb. 8-12 at the University of Wyoming.

Through this annual week of programming, UW celebrates the continuing impact of King’s life and ideals. The MLK DOD tradition is intended to expand institutional and community awareness about issues of diversity and social justice, to foster an inclusive community, and to empower individuals to act in solidarity with Black lives and marginalized communities, say Erin Olsen Pueblitz and Melanie Vigil, co-directors of the 19th annual event.

“The Days of Dialogue serve as a renewal of UW’s commitment to making campus a more welcoming and empowering place for people from different backgrounds, heritages, orientations, abilities, and perspectives,” they add.

This year’s theme is “Black Lives Matter: Strides Toward Freedom and Justice.”

“The United States has a long history of racial injustice and inequality that activists locally and throughout the nation acknowledge and denounce, relentlessly making strides toward intersectional justice and equity,” Olsen Pueblitz and Vigil say. “This past summer, we witnessed a movement take shape that activated voices from around the world and called for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and, unfortunately, many others. Demands for justice rang out from every corner of our nation as activists chanted ‘Black Lives Matter.”

They say that conversation will continue during MLK DOD’s programming. The goal is to explore the historic civil rights movements — past and present — that have “shaped the United States and analyze paths toward freedom.”

Because of ongoing COVID-19 concerns, all programs will be presented virtually:

— Monday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m.: Willena Stanford Award program. In lieu of the annual supper, the virtual program will still honor Stanford, a former UW instructor in African American and Diaspora Studies. She was firmly committed to equitable education for all UW students. The annual award will be presented to a UW student. The program is available through Zoom at https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/95099164758.

— Tuesday, Feb. 9, 5:30 p.m.: “MLK DOD Keynote: Yusef Salaam.” Exonerated “Central Park Five” member Yusef Salaam is this year’s keynote speaker. Salaam and four other New York City teenagers were wrongfully convicted of raping a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989. The youths were jailed between seven and 13 years before they were exonerated when DNA matched a convicted murderer and rapist. To register for the program, go here.

— Thursday, Feb. 11, 5:30 p.m.: “A Conversation with Donna Brazile and Ana Navarro.” Brazile, a former Democratic National Committee interim chair and a Fox News contributor, and Navarro, a former Republican strategist and current television political contributor, will discuss today’s political landscape. To register for the program, go here.

— Friday, Feb. 12, 11 a.m.: “A Kind of Freedom” book discussion. Each year, a book discussion is held as a means of engagement and dialogue inspired by the MLK DOD theme. This year’s selected book is “A Kind of Freedom” by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. The first 50 participants to sign up will receive a free novel, allowing them to read it before the event. For more information, email [email protected].

For a complete listing of events, go to the MLK DOD website.

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