University of Iowa to honor Martin Luther King Day with community events

Old Capitol
The Unity March will start on the east side of the Old Capitol Museum at 3:30 p.m. — photo by Charles “Chinese-Buffalo” via Flickr Creative Commons

While many have the day off on Monday, Jan. 19, the University of Iowa is inviting community members to engage with others while educating themselves on social justice and human rights during an afternoon celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, beginning at 3:30 p.m. on the Pentacrest.

The events kick off with the Unity March, a half-mile march that will begin from the east side of Old Capitol Museum. Following the march, at 4 p.m. in the Old Capitol Museum’s Senate Chambers, diversity educator Steve Birdine will give a lecture as part of the program titled “Time to Remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” and UI student Del-Marie Nelson will read a poem.

According to Roy Salcedo, Chair for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration of Human Rights Planning Committee, following the lecture attendees are encouraged to stay for a community conversation on social justice and human rights.

“The committee understands that there are a lot of things going on in the Iowa, UI community, as well as across the country and the world,” Salcedo said. “We’re providing also an opportunity for people to stay afterwards and dialogue about the things going on if they would like to share.”

The Unity March and a “Time to Remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” are only one part of a collection of events occurring in Iowa City to commemorate Dr. King’s work. In true congruence with Dr. King’s focus on diversity and inclusion, all UI events celebrating Dr. King will be open to the public.

“That’s the biggest message that we want to send,” Salcedo reiterated regarding the on-campus events scheduled to celebrate the life and work of Dr. King, “That everyone can participate…and that it’s open to everyone.”