On-campus Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration set for Feb. 6

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host a Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration for campus and community at 5 p.m. Feb. 6 in Schofield Auditorium.

Held during the first week of Black History Month, the free event will include a keynote address by U.S. civil rights movement foot soldier Joanne Bland as well as presentations and performances by university leaders, students, faculty and staff. The event is sponsored by UW-Eau Claire’s Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Student Affairs; Office of Multicultural Affairs; and Black Student Alliance.

The celebration also will include the presentation of UW-Eau Claire's second annual Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Leadership Award to Dr. Rose-Marie Avin, professor of economics and director of the women’s, gender and sexuality studies program.

“We launched the on-campus Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration last year in response to a specific request from African American students who wanted a program on campus upon their return from winter break," said Dr. Tamara Johnson, UW-Eau Claire's vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and student affairs. "We are glad to continue this new tradition and build upon the success of last year.”

Joanne Bland with students during UW-Eau Claire Civil Rights Pilgrimage

Joanne Bland shares the story of the U.S. civil rights movement with students during UW-Eau Claire's Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Bland will be the keynote speaker at the university's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Feb. 6.

Keynote speaker Joanne Bland was a youth civil rights activist in the 1960s and is co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama. Bland participated in some of the United States’ most consequential civil rights battles. She marched on "Bloody Sunday" and "Turnaround Tuesday" and in the first leg of the successful March from Selma to Montgomery. By the time she was 11 years old, Bland had been arrested 13 times. Bland’s early involvement in the struggle against Jim Crow laws has been the foundation for her lifelong civil and human rights work.

Michael Thomas, student services coordinator in UW-Eau Claire’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, said the event is an expression of UW-Eau Claire’s priorities of equity and inclusion for all.

“It is our hope that participants will leave the program re-energized about Dr. King’s vision for civil rights and equality,” Thomas said. “We hope people will take to heart how his work not only resonates with today’s social justice movements and the university’s commitment to student success, but also how it aligns with UW-Eau Claire’s current programs and services supporting campuswide equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Parking for the event will be available in “F” or “S” stalls in any university lot. See the campus map for Schofield Hall and parking lot locations.

The event also can be viewed remotely via a live web feed at uwec.ly/live2.