Lawrence University’s celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will expand from a day of service and reflection on Jan. 16 to a multi-week observance that includes a series of speakers on issues of race and education.

Jan. 16 will remain a day of service, with no classes scheduled. The day will include a kick-off breakfast, various volunteer opportunities for students, an anti-racism workshop for students hosted by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the 32nd annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, to be held virtually.

In addition, Justice, Peace, & Righteousness, an MLK Teach-In Series, is being launched, featuring weekly presentations on campus. The series kicks off on Jan. 10 and runs through Feb. 1.

Also on MLK Day, President Laurie A. Carter will be the guest speaker at an annual celebration at the State Capitol rotunda in Madison. The 42nd annual event, produced and directed by Wisconsin Public Radio’s Dr. Jonathan Overby, begins at noon Jan. 16 with the theme, “Let Justice Rule.” In addition to Carter, it will feature Gov. Tony Evers, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Foundation of Life Praise Band, Prince Hall Masonic Honor Guard, and the Kalaanjali Dance Company. The event will be carried live on WPR stations and at PBS Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Channel and also will carry it live and will broadcast a one-hour highlights package at 9 p.m. Jan. 16.

Details of all the events can be found on the Office of DEI's MLK page.

 Lawrence's MLK Day celebration on Jan. 16 includes:

  • Volunteer programs and service opportunities: With collaborations between the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), the Committee on Volunteer Engagement (COVE), and Volunteer Fox Cities, numerous on- and off-campus service opportunities are available to students. Options to sign up for any of the activities are listed on the GivePulse page.
  • Transformational Leaders of Color Breakfast: Students, faculty, and staff are invited to gather for food and fellowship at 9:30 a.m. in the Warch Campus Center’s Somerset Room to hear from local business owners of color. The panel will be moderated by Jesus Smith, assistant professor of ethnic studies. This event is open to the public. Registration is required.
  • Anti-Racism and Allyship Workshop: Hosted by the Office of DEI’s peer educator, this workshop is aimed at understanding implicit biases on race as well as those encountered in our everyday structure. This workshop at 4:15 p.m. is reserved for current LU students. Registration is required.
  • The annual Fox Cities MLK Day celebration will feature Henry Sanders, CEO of Madison 365, as the keynote speaker. The event, to be held virtually from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 16, also will include musical performances and the announcement of the annual community educator awards. It’s open to the public; registration is required at

Meanwhile, the Justice, Peace, & Righteousness Teach-In Series, presented by the Office of DEI, will run from Jan. 10 through Feb. 1. The presentations include:

  • Dr. Elliot Ratzman, Martin Luther King Jr., the Jews, and Questions of Antisemitism: 7 p.m. Jan. 10, Main Hall 201. The talk will illuminate King’s collaboration with American Jews, including his thoughts on Zionism and the Palestinians, antisemitism, and other Jewish issues. Ratzman is chair in Jewish Studies at Earlham College.
  • Dr. Sigma Colón, Black and Brown Solidarity: MLK to Wakanda Forever: 7 p.m. Jan. 18, Main Hall 201. The talk will explore cross-racial alliances from King’s Poor People’s Campaign for economic justice to more recent economic arguments about the “solidarity dividends” to be gained through coalition building. Colon is an assistant professor of environmental and ethnic studies at Lawrence.
  • John Holiday and Company, The John Holiday & MLK Experience: 7 p.m. Jan. 25, Warch Campus Center. Countertenor and voice professor John Holiday will present a recital of classical vocal works and songs performed by his studio as well as performances inspired by the words, life, and times of Dr. King.
  • Dr. Stephanie P. Jones, Where Do We Go from Here? Ending Curriculum Violence and Antiblackness in Schools: 7 p.m. Feb. 1, Warch Campus Cinema. This will be Lawrence’s second annual “Community Conversation.” The lecture will cover the historical context and definitions of racialized trauma and curriculum violence in the classroom. It aims to help students and educators rethink, recognize, and dismantle these acts in their classrooms, curriculum, and pedagogies. Jones is an assistant professor of education at Grinnell College and is the founder of Mapping Racial Trauma in Schools.

The teach-in series is free and open to the public.