Celebrating the Legacy

Issue Date: 
January 12, 2015

The University of Pittsburgh is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with service activities, a candlelight vigil, a unity brunch, and a Social Justice Symposium and Town Hall Meeting featuring Marc Lamont Hill, a professor, community activist, and award-winning journalist. All events, which began Jan. 10 and conclude Jan. 23, are free and open to the public, except for the volunteer activities, which are for University of Pittsburgh affiliates. 

Pitt’s Office of Cross Cultural and Leadership Development, Division of Student Affairs, will host the Fifth Annual Social Justice Symposium on Friday, Jan. 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the William Pitt Union’s Assembly Room. Hill’s presentation, “Race Matters, or Does It: A University’s Response,” will address race relations on university campuses. 

Hill, a distinguished professor of African American studies at Morehouse College, is host of the television shows HuffPost Live and Black Entertainment Television News, and is a political contributor for the Cable News Network.

At 6 p.m. on Jan. 16, Hill will be the featured guest of a Town Hall Meeting, also in the WPU Assembly Room. Other panelists for the event include Pitt Chief of Police James K. Loftus; Cameron McLay, chief of police for the City of Pittsburgh; Deborah Walker, manager of the City of Pittsburgh’s Office of Municipal Investigations; RaShall Brackney, commander of Zone 1 in the City of Pittsburgh; and Beth Pittinger, director of the City of Pittsburgh Police Citizen Review Board. 

Multiple service activities are set for this week, including volunteer activities for the Pitt community at venues such as the Light of Life Rescue Mission, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and Community Human Services. And the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 19. “Make it a day ON, not a day OFF!” is the slogan for the day, which is a national holiday.

Also on Jan. 19, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity will honor the memory of King with a candlelight vigil on the Cathedral of Learning steps beginning at 7:06 p.m. King was a member of that fraternity, and the 7:06 start time represents the time the noted civil rights leader was declared dead.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 23, the Equipoise Unity Brunch will be held in the WPU Assembly Room, where Equipoise members will announce the winner of the Martin Luther King Creating a “Just” Community Award. Equipoise comprises Pitt faculty, administrators, and staff who seek to provide fellowship and development opportunities for African Americans.

The full schedule of activities can be found at www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/mlk.