Washington University celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Community Engagement; Diversity; Public Health; Social Work

James Clark, vice president of community outreach for Better Family Life, will receive the Rosa L. Parks Award at Washington University in St. Louis’ annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, in Graham Chapel.

Clark is making an impact in St. Louis, addressing the needs of families and students, said Rudolph Clay, chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration committee and head of library diversity initiatives and outreach services at Olin Library.

Better Family Life, an administrative partner of the Brown School, offers holistic solutions to issues that commonly threaten the family unit. Clark leads St. Louis Perspectives, a mentoring project for male students in St. Louis Public Schools, and “Put Down the Pistol,” a crime-prevention program.

“His work takes him to those neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by poverty and crime,” Clay said. “It’s hard work. It’s gritty work. But he is committed to doing what it takes.”

Also to be honored are Clayton High School senior Audrey Ming Lan Goedegebuure, winner of the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Service Award, and Washington University alumnus Rene Morency Jr., winner of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Project Award.

Vernon C. Mitchell Jr., curator of popular American arts and culture for Washington University Libraries, will deliver the keynote address.

The event also will include remarks from Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, Provost Holden Thorp, Association of Black Students President Reuben Hogan and Student Union President Sydney Robinson, as well as performances by Black Anthology, Visions Gospel Choir, the Washington University Chamber Choir and organist Harry V. Moppins.

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Danforth University Center garage.

School of Medicine hosts annual lecture

At the School of Medicine, the Office of Diversity Programs will present its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Lecture at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, in the Eric P. Newman Education Center, 320 S. Euclid Ave. The event is open to the public.

The speaker is Brian D. Smedley, co-founder and executive director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity, a project that connects research, policy analysis and communications with on-the-ground activism to advance health equity. In this role, Smedley oversees several initiatives designed to improve opportunities for good health for people of color and to undo the health consequences of racism.

Additional local celebrations include:

Jan. 13 and 15: MLK Family Celebration at the Missouri History Museum

Jan. 14: Reclaim MLK 2018 at the Equation Church

Jan. 18: MLK Day of Service 2018 at the University of Missouri-St.Louis