University of Pennsylvania Commemorates MLK: "Opening Minds to A Diverse Democracy"

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto-Haines | | 215-898-4820January 10, 2008

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania will commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with “Opening Minds to a Diverse Democracy,” a symposium on social change and nearly two weeks of special MLK-related events, including lectures, films and discussion groups on the Penn campus from Jan. 21 to Feb. 1.

Also, volunteer opportunities are planned at Penn to celebrate King’s legacy, beginning with a variety of open-to-the-public service activities on Monday, Jan. 21, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Activities for all ages include working with the “Books through Bars” program, creating gifts that will be donated to area shelters and nursing homes, promoting youth literacy and painting the Shaw Middle School during its beautification project.

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 from our communities, in order to better our communities. And we’re hoping to get even more volunteers for these community service activities,” said Valerie Dorsey Allen, director of the African-American Resource Center at Penn and director of the Executive Planning Committee for the 2008 Commemorative Symposium in King’s honor. Additional information on volunteer opportunities is available at or 215-898-0104.

Music mogul Kenny Gamble is the honorary guest speaker at this year’s Day of Service Breakfast on Jan. 21 at 8:30 a.m. in Houston Hall. At this free continental breakfast, he’ll be joined by Penn President Amy Gutmann.

Events open to the public include:
• The 22nd Annual White Dog dinner, White Dog Café, 6 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20. There is a charge for this event.
• “One Voice” choir tribute to King, Rodin College House, 6 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20.
• MLK Day of Service Breakfast featuring guest speaker Kenny Gamble and free continental breakfast for attendees, Houston Hall, 8:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21.
• Candlelight vigil reflecting the life of King and his struggle during the civil rights movement, starting at three locations: W.E.B. DuBois College House, The Quad, and Hill House, 8 p.m., Monday, Jan. 21.
• “Losing the Youth: Black Males and the Legal System,” discussion on how communities can organize to mentor youth, Irvine Auditorium, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22.
• “Miles to Go: Discrimination Against LGBT People,” discussion, LGBT Center, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22.
• “Social Justice to Black Injustice,” discussion, ARCH Building, noon, Wednesday, Jan. 23.
• “MLK Interfaith Program,” featuring Marian Wright Edelman, founder, Children’s Defense Fund, Houston Hall, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23.
• “Making Social Change: The Direct Action Campaign,” a talk by the founder of Training for Change, George Lakey,” Logan Hall, 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24.
• “MLK Birthday Bash,” with live performances, Houston Hall, 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24.
• “Committed to Change” discussion, time to be announced, Thursday, Jan. 24.
• “Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture in Social Justice,” Annenberg Center’s Zellerbach Theatre, 5:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25.
• “Performance Art: Social Change for the Highest Good of All,” performances, Rotunda Theater, 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25.
• “The Poor People’s Campaign: MLK’s Final Legacy and Our Future,” discussion, LGBT Center, noon, Saturday, Jan. 26.
• “Collegiate Thugs: The Politics of Cultural Authenticity Within a University Atmosphere,” discussion, Huntsman Hall, 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26.
• “Choosing Not to Integrate,” Sweeten Alumni House, noon, Monday, Jan. 28.
• “Moving Past Indecision to Action,” discussion, Houston Hall, 4 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28.
• “Family Name: What Do We Really Know About Our Roots?” Penn Hillel Steinhardt Hall, 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28.
• “Relationships Matter!”a discussion on the importance of positive relationships, particularly with today’s youth, LGBT Center, 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28.
• “Nexus” interactive workshop with group activities, Houston Hall, noon, Tuesday, Jan. 29.
• “Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome,” seminar, 3 p.m.; reception, 5:30 p.m.; lecture, 6:30 p.m., Penn Hillel Steinhardt Hall, Tuesday, Jan. 29.
• “Equal Access Within the Mental Health System,” discussion, Greenfield Intercultural Center, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 29.
• “Remembering the Community: Building Service Into Your Life and Career,” Penn Hillel Steinhardt Hall, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30.
• “What Is the Measure of Success?” discussion, Huntsman Hall, 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30.
• “‘Soulja Boys’: Hip-hop, Violence and the New Civil Rights,” forum on youth violence and hip-hop culture, Houston Hall, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30.
• Michael Warner delivering the R. Jean Brownlee Lecture in Sexuality Studies, Logan Hall (G-17), 5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31.
• “Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales,” one-man show and “talk back” session, Annenberg Center, 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31.
• Annual “Jazz for King” event and poetry reading, W.E.B. DuBois College House, 6 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1.

Volunteer opportunities on the Day of Service, Jan. 21, include:
• Books through Bars, White Dog Café, 9:30 a.m.
• 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.
• Health Information and Resource Fair, Houston Hall, 10 a.m.
• Philadelphia Reads: Literacy Project, Houston Hall, 10 a.m.
• Beautification Project for Shaw Middle School, 5400 Warrington Ave., 10 a.m.
• Voter Registration Drive, W.E.B. DuBois College House, 5 p.m.
• “Picking up the mantle: more than a day, longer than a season,” Houston Hall, 6 p.m.

A complete listing of commemorative events is available at or 215-898-0104.