Penn Celebrates MLK's Legacy With a Commemorative Symposium on Social Change

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto-Haines | | 215-898-4820January 12, 2009

PHILADELPHIA –- The University of Pennsylvania will remember Martin Luther King Jr. with a “Commemorative Symposium on Social Change” and nearly two weeks of special events, including lectures, films and discussions on the Penn campus from Jan. 15 to 30.

Also, volunteer opportunities are planned at Penn to celebrate King’s legacy, beginning with a variety of open-to-the-public activities on Mon, Jan. 19, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Activities for all ages include creating gifts that will be donated to area shelters and hospitals, promoting youth literacy and sprucing up the Lea School, Myers Recreation Center and Community Education Center.

Coordinators of this year’s events are still looking for volunteers.

“This is one example of the Penn Compact and how the University engages locally by working with volunteers in order to better our communities. And we’re hoping to get even more volunteers this year,” said Valerie Dorsey Allen, director of the African-American Resource Center at Penn and the Executive Planning Committee for the 2009 Commemorative Symposium in King’s honor.

David Kairys, a civil-rights lawyer, is the guest speaker at this year’s Day of Service Breakfast on Jan. 19 at 8:30 a.m. in Houston Hall. At this free continental breakfast, he will be joined by Penn President Amy Gutmann.

Events open to the public include:

“Without Struggle, There Is No Progress,” a fifth-anniversary gala for the Black Men at Penn School of Social Wor, Inc., Huntsman Hall, 8th Floor, Thursday, Jan. 15, 5:30 p.m. There is a charge for this event.
• Free pet-vaccination clinic, Monday, Jan. 19, 9 a.m.
• MLK Day of Service Breakfast featuring David Kairys, with free continental breakfast, Houston Hall, Monday, Jan. 19, 8:30 a.m.
• Candlelight vigil reflecting the life of King and his struggle during the civil-rights movement, starting at three Penn locations: W.E.B. Dubois College House, the Quad and Hill College House, Monday, Jan. 19, 8 p.m.
• Penn’s Presidential Inaugural Celebration, Houston Hall, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m.
• “The Global Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” video presentation and panel discussion, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Wednesday, Jan. 21, noon.
• “The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture in Social Justice,” featuring actor Danny Glover, Annenberg Center’s Zellerbach Theater, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 5:30 p.m.
• “Bruised and Broken: Abused Boys and Healing Men,” a discussion about abused males, Cohen Hall, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.
• “Pathways to the Ph.D. and Beyond,” a panel discussion of underrepresented minority scholars in the biomedical sciences about challenges when choosing science as a career, Houston Hall, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.
• “The Face of the World Has Changed, I Think…,” a talk by Vice Provost Valerie Swain-Cade McCoullum, Houston Hall, Thursday, Jan. 22, 1 p.m.
• “MLK Interfaith Program and Awards Ceremony,” featuring Dolores Huerta, a grass-roots organizer and human-rights activist, Houston Hall, Thursday, Jan. 22, 6 p.m.
• “Performance Art for Social Change, Rotunda Theater, Friday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m.
• “Beyond the Ballot: Change Through Direct Action,” Houston Hall, Saturday, Jan. 24, 11 a.m.
• “Traces of the Trade: Documentary and Discussion with the Director” a film screening and discussion with director and producer Katrina Browne, Philadelphia Cathedral, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2 p.m.
• “Let Freedom Ring,” a look at civil rights yesterday, today and tomorrow, Houston Hall, Saturday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m.
• “Common Ground” performances, Tabernacle United Church, Saturday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m. Admission is a small donation.
• “Greenfield Intercultural Center’s 25th Anniversary Rededication,” Greenfield Intercultural Center, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2 p.m.
• “In the Spirit of MLK: Love and Forgiveness,” location to be announced, Sunday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m.
• “Women in the New Administration,” lunch discussion, Penn Women’s Center, Monday, Jan. 26, noon.
• “Life After Prison,” panel discussion on ways to encourage the successful transition of ex-offenders into mainstream society, Houston Hall, Monday, Jan. 26, 5:30 p.m.
• “Rev. Tommie Watkins: Living Out Loud,” Carriage House, Monday, Jan. 26, 6 p.m.
• “Reaching the Mountaintop: Upholding King’s Dream” forum, Monday, Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m.
• “Citizen King,” film, dinner and discussion with the producer, Cohen Hall, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 6 p.m.
• “Shadow Citizens… Acknowledging the Ignored: A look at people facing homelessness,” Greenfield Intercultural Center, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 6:30 p.m.
• “Nurturing Peace Within Intimate Male-Female Relationships” discussion, Greenfield Intercultural Center, Tuesday, Jan. 27, noon.
• “Making the Invisible Visible: Hidden Racism in Daily Life,” interactive workshop, Religious Activities Common, 3615 Locust Walk, Wednesday, Jan. 28, noon
• “Causes and Consequences of Homelessness Around the World,” panel discussion, Carriage House, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m.
• “Finding Ways to Prove You’re NOT an Al-Qaeda Terrorist When You’re Brown,” Rodin College House, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 8 p.m.
• “You Mean There’s Race in My Movie?,” workshop and reception, Hillel Auditorium, Thursday, Jan. 29 at 3:30 p.m.
• “The (Mis)Education of LGBTQ Youth: New Frontiers in Social Justice Education” discussion, Carriage House, Thursday, Jan. 29, 6 p.m.
• “Student Experiences Abroad: Penn Students and Global Engagement” interactive workshop for students, Weigle Information Commons/Van Pelt Dietrich Library Center, Thursday, Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m.
• “Critical Consciousness and Culture Before Direct Action” discussion, location to be announced, Thursday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m.
• “Lunch with Jonathan Stein” luncheon, Christian Association House, Friday, Jan. 30, noon.
• Annual “Jazz for King” event and poetry reading, W.E.B. DuBois College House, Friday, Jan. 30, 6 p.m.

Volunteer opportunities on the Day of Service, Jan. 19, include:
• Children’s Banner Painting, Houston Hall Auditorium, 10 a.m.
• Helping Hands at Houston Hall, creating gifts to be donated to West Philadelphia area shelters, nursing homes and hospitals, 10 a.m.
• Decoration of the Social Justice Chair, Houston Hall, 10 a.m.
• Computer Drive, Houston Hall, 10 a.m.
• Beautification Project for Lea School, 4700 Locust St.; Myers Recreation Center, 58th Street and Chester Avenue; Community Education Center, 3500 Lancaster Ave., 10 a.m.
• Philadelphia Reads: Literacy Project, Houston Hall, 10 a.m.
• Helping Hands at Houston Hall, Houston Hall, 10 a.m.

A complete listing of commemorative events and additional information about volunteer opportunities are available at or 215-898-0104.