Campus Community / People of SU

Honoring Dr. King and 'Good Trouble'

Written by Tina Potterf

January 12, 2021

Graphic of MLK Jr Celebration

Image credit: Anne Reinisch (graphic)

This year's MLK Jr. Celebration will be a virtual event, with keynote speaker feminist and author Dr. Angela Davis.

This year’s annual MLK Day event honors the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the late civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis. Congressman Lewis, who tirelessly fought for racial and social justice and equality, marched alongside Dr. King and helped in putting together the historic 1963 March on Washington, inspired activists and advocates for change with his mantra to “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

And that is the theme of Seattle U’s MLK Jr. Celebration, “Good Trouble in 2021,” featuring keynote speaker, feminist and author, Dr. Angela Davis. This year will be a virtual event beginning at 6 p.m. on January 19.

This year’s MLK Jr. event is sponsored by several university offices and organizations, including the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Student Development, Center for Community Engagement, Center for Student Involvement and the Alumni Association. This celebration takes on an even deeper, more significant meaning with the events and challenges of 2020 and continuing into the start of 2021.

“Our annual event takes place the day before Inauguration. The significance of this day is not lost on us,” says Michelle Kim, OMA director. “The last year has been a hard year and the past four years of the current administration has been a source of trauma for many people, including our students. With this context in mind, our keynote this year will speak to hope, unity and action as we explore what civic engagement and ‘good trouble’ look like in 2021.”

With the ongoing pandemic and a cessation of social gatherings, this year’s virtual event on Zoom will feature a 60-minute program that with include reflections from leaders and members of the campus community, in addition to the keynote from Dr. Davis. Additional speakers include Dr. Alvin Sturdivant, vice president of Student Development, Adilia Watson and Tatianah Summers, president and vice president, respectively, of the Black Student Union and alumnus ChrisTiana ObeySumner.

A signature Seattle U event, the MLK celebration has taken on many forms over the years, says Kim, from panels to hip hop dance workshops to worship with local gospel choirs, along with various prominent keynotes.

“Each year, we choose a theme or topic that invites students to explore the complexity of the particular social justice issue,” says Kim. “We want students to leave with more questions, new information and motivation to act.”

While the format may be different this year, what isn’t is the overriding message of honoring Dr. King and living out the lessons he imparted, the dreams he shared and his call to act in great love and in unity.