January 11, 2024

By Rebecca Mohr, Capital University Communications Manager

Celebrating Courage in Community as Volunteers Shine During Capital’s MLK Day of Learning

As Capital prepares to host the 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning on Jan. 15, 2024, the event serves as a beacon of commitment to social justice and equality. An integral part of campus, this year’s event welcomes students, staff, faculty, and community members to celebrate “Courage in Community.”

“When I think about the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's commitment to the MLK Day of Learning, I think about the legacy of the event. Knowing the long history, and that this year will make the 33rd, I wanted to make sure that in leading this event, I honor the work of those that have come before me. MLK Day is a day that is celebrated in many capacities in many places, but I love the way that Capital approaches it,” said Mikayla Carter, associate director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“I think the best part of the planning team is how many backgrounds and areas of expertise that the group brings to the table. I feel that I approach the event with the recognition that this work cannot get done without everyone's contributions. It is very important to me that those on the planning committee feel that they are taking an active role, and that their experiences with this specific event, or other similar ones, are honored.”

Led by Carter and Sidney Childs, Ed.D., interim chief diversity officer, the 2024 planning committee is comprised of over 45 volunteers, including staff, students, and faculty, all bringing their unique talents and experiences to the day.

“I am motivated to volunteer for this program because social justice is everyone’s responsibility.  Not one office or person can be responsible for an event of this magnitude. I really enjoy working with such a committed group of people across campus who are working towards one common goal,” said Jennifer Adams, M.A., director of The Center for Global Education.

“Capital’s MLK Day of Learning came from student leadership over 33 years ago.  It was the voice of Student Government with Ebony Brotherhood, coupled with the steady leadership coming from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, now the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, that has grown this program to the event it is now. I am proud to be a part of this collective.”

Volunteers take on various responsibilities within the committee and during the events on the day. Through his connections in the community, said Robert Fleming, executive administrative assistant, Business and Finance, who has played a pivotal role in expanding the event's reach and ensuring its ongoing impact.

“Since the initial ask of singing the Black National Anthem for MLK Day, that led to other opportunities as being the advisor to the Capital University Voices of Praise Gospel Choir,” said Fleming.  “We began singing for this event and that led to me pulling in resources from the faith-based community to join in and help with our celebration.”

Open to the community, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning at Capital is meant to be a powerful day brimming with inspiration, profound reflection, and active community engagement, paying homage to the impactful teachings of Dr. King.

“It is a day on, not a day off. It represents a continued struggle to end institutional racism in all its forms and to embrace equity and to celebrate diversity in all its forms,” said Jennifer Kelly, Ph.D., dean, School of Education.

“It is a day on campus where I see people who look like me.  As one of a handful of Black faculty and staff of color on campus, it is a day where the community comes out to Capital to share in the benefits of free workshops, a great speaker, and empowering conversations.  The sense of pride that the community feels when they step on this campus is energizing and affirming for me as a faculty member, as well as them.”

For more information about the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Learning at Capital, visit http://2zqh.reginahsrunway.com/student-life/arts-and-culture/annual-events/martin-luther-king-jr-day-of-learning/.