Brown School, WashU to celebrate King’s legacy Monday | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Brown School, WashU to Celebrate King’s Legacy Monday

Community Engagement; Diversity; Faculty

​How does President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda impact Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream? That question will drive the Brown School’s 2017 commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, organized by the Brown School’s Black Student Union and Diversity Committee.

The event — “The Dream. The Agenda.” — will feature a panel discussion with community leaders and Brown School faculty, followed by a celebratory dinner.

Panelists will include:

  • Tim McBride, professor and health policy analyst

  • Vetta Sanders Thompson, associate professor and researcher in mental health disparities

  • Reena Hajat Caroll, executive director of Diversity Awareness Partnership

  • Steph Perkins, executive director of PROMO

The event will take place place at 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 16, in the Clark-Fox Forum of Hillman Hall, and is open to Brown School students, faculty and staff, as well as other Washington University graduate students. Seating is limited and an RSVP is required by Jan. 11.

Washington University Celebration

Washington University in St. Louis’ Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, in Graham Chapel. This year’s program marks the 30th anniversary of the ceremony’s debut and the 60th anniversary of King’s appearance at Graham Chapel. King urged his audience to join him in the fight for integration.

“If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward,” King urged the crowd in 1957, repeating one of his most powerful precepts.

The theme of the 2017 celebration is based on another quote from King: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

The commemoration will include a keynote address from the Rev. Traci D. Blackmon, executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries for the United Church of Christ and pastor of Christ the King United Church; remarks from Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Provost Holden Thorp; and performances from Black Anthology and Orchestrating Diversity, an urban youth orchestra.

Leah Merrifield, a passionate advocate for college access, will receive the 2017 Rosa L. Parks Award. Merrifield serves as the university’s associate vice chancellor for community engagement and St. Louis college readiness initiatives. She created Washington University’s innovative College Prep Program, which prepares talented, low-income high school students for life on a college campus.

Mya Petty, 17, will receive the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Service Award. Last summer, Petty launched “STL Lunch,” which provided free lunches to approximately 30 children at Hickey Park in the Baden neighborhood.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow at the Danforth University Center. Free parking is available in the Danforth University Center garage.

School of Medicine Celebration

In addition, the Office of Diversity Programs at the School of Medicine will present its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Lecture at 4 p.m. Monday in the Eric P. Newman Education Center, 320 S. Euclid Ave.

Robert D. Bullard, often called the father of environmental justice, will be the guest speaker at the School of Medicine event. Bullard is a professor of urban planning and environmental policy in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston.

The author of 17 books, Bullock has written on subjects ranging from sustainable development to environmental racism to regional equity. His lecture is titled “Environmental Justice: A Path to Ensuring Healthier Communities for All.”

This event is also free and open to the public. To RSVP, call the Office of Diversity Programs at 314-362-6854 or email

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