PSU, community partners honor legacy of MLK with virtual events

Photo of MLK against a blue background
A series of events will honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A series of virtual campus and community events honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. kicks off at Portland State this Friday with a multimedia presentation by antiracist educator Lasana Hotep. 

All events will be held virtually and are open to the public. 

"The annual MLK events provide an opportunity to pause, reflect and take stock of the journey to justice, equity and full citizenship; of the call to, and the joys and costs of, leadership and service; and of the power of vision, persistence, courage, community and intentionality in supporting extraordinary impact," says Ame Lambert, vice president of PSU's Global Diversity & Inclusion.

In the first event on Friday, Jan. 15, Hotep, UC Berkeley's first-ever Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, will take participants on a journey behind the experiences that shaped Dr. King, his contribution to the current antiracist movement and the global impact of his work to create a more racially just world. 

On Saturday, Jan. 23, the Racial Justice Campus Collaborative, a group of 2- and 4-year colleges and universities, along with community partners committed to programming that centers the histories and narratives of Portland's Black community, will lead a daylong racial justice teach-in. 

The event, From Resilience to Black Liberation: Uprooting Systems of Inequity, will include workshops and discussions with Black-led nonprofits, including Wild Diversity, IRCO Africa House, PDX Alliance for Self-Care and the African Youth and Community Organization, as well as Black artists and practitioners committed to community empowerment and wellbeing. 

The morning will open with an intergenerational panel of Black activists and organizers discussing institutional change, advocacy and visions for a more liberated society. Topics for breakout sessions range from decolonizing health and wellness, addressing anti-Blackness in public policy, contemporary organizing and protest strategies, and mutual aid. 

Carmen Brewton Denison, executive director of Campus Compact of Oregon, which convenes the Campus Collaborative, says the overall mission of the event is to amplify and uplift past and present narratives of Black resistance and creativity.

"Overall, this programming seeks to provide a platform for Black folks from all walks of life and embodiments, working across disciplines and cultures, to discuss pressing current events, exchange ideas, and present their work in a space that prioritizes Black experience and knowledge above else." 

Portland State's "Living the Legacy" series concludes with a faculty panel on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Lambert will moderate a conversation — "Time Traveling Through Portland's Black Life" — between Walidah Imarisha, director of PSU's Center for Black Studies and assistant professor of Black Studies; Julius McGee, assistant professor of Urban Studies & Planning and Black Studies; and Darrell Millner, professor emeritus of Black Studies.

"This is our time to collectively envision and act in ways that are courageous, intentional and persistent so that we will also have an extraordinary impact on the journey," Lambert says. "I trust we will meet the demands of that call."

Event Details

The Silence of Our Friends: The Anti-Racist Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Friday, January 15, 2021 | 5:30 p.m.

From Resilience to Black Liberation: Uprooting Systems of Inequity
Saturday, January 23, 2021 | 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

In Conversation: Time Traveling Through Portland's Black Life
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | 5:30 p.m.