About the Celebration

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebrates the history, spirit and life of one of America's greatest champions of social justice and equality. Each year we honor the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of loving and serving humanity.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Case Western Reserve University includes the MLK Convocation, which features the celebration's keynote address, along with a variety of other events. Programs are organized and presented by Case Western Reserve University schools, departments and student organizations, aiming to remember King's mission and inspire all members of our community to keep his dream alive. Past events have included art exhibitions, speeches, lunches, panel discussions, performances, plays and films.

The "Celebration Events" section below will be populated as events are confirmed. 

The 2019 celebration theme is "Through the Lens of our Stories: The King Legacy Today."  


Events throughout University Circle

Click here for information on how museums and institutions throughout the University Circle neighborhood are honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.  


Campus Celebration Events

Check back for additional events coming soon. 


MLK Convocation featuring LaToya Ruby Frazier

Friday, January 18, 2019, 12:45 p.m. 

Location: Tinkham Veale University Center, Kelvin & Eleanor Smith Foundation Grand Ballroom

Keynote speaker, LaToya Ruby Frazier, is a visual artist and advocate who uses photography to capture and explore social inequality and historical change. In her work The Geography of Oppression published in The Atlantic, Frazier documented how King’s assassination affected the physical structures of cities. 

The MLK Convocation will also include the "State of Diversity" address by Dr. Marilyn Sanders Mobley, followed by the release of the annual Case Western Reserve University Diversity Report.

The event will be followed by a light reception. Free and open to all. Online registration requested: case.edu/events/mlk/

Sponsored by the President’s Office, the Office of Donor Relations and University Events and the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Contact: Office of University Events, mlkconvo@case.edu


Sustained Dialogue Moderator Training

Saturday, January 19, 2019, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

Location: Thwing Center 101

The campus community is invited to attend a free Sustained Dialogue moderator training session. The training session will provide information about the program and provide tools for effectively moderating a Sustained Dialogue group.

Open to all members of the CWRU community. 

Registration requested via Campus Groups

Sponsored by: Office of Multicultural Affairs; Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity; Office of First Year Experience and Family Programs

Contact: John Killings, 216.368.2904, jrk160@case.edu 


Ballots and Bullets: Black Power Politics and Urban Guerrilla Warfare in 1968 Cleveland

Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. 

Location: Kelvin Smith Library, Dampeer Room, 2nd Floor

Author talk with James Robenalt, local author, attorney and historian who will discuss the roots of the violent uprisings in Cleveland in 1968 (Hough Riot, Glenville Shootout, etc.) and the city's political aftermath. Cleveland was a uniquely important city in the civil rights movement and hosted critical speeches by Rev. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Robert F. Kennedy.

Open to all. Additional details available online.

Sponsored by: Kelvin Smith Library and Social Justice Institute 

Contact: Gail Reese, 216.368.2992, gail.reese@case.edu


Women of Color Series

Wednesday, January 23, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Location: Flora Stone Mather Center for Women

The Women of Color series is an initiative for all members of the CWRU community, regardless of gender, who are interested in advocating for intersectional feminism and equity for all women. The series is dedicated to dialogue, inclusion and advocacy for marginalized women who identify as women of color based on their race and/or ethnicity. The focus is on identifying ways to learn and grow in our perspectives to ensure we are supporting a more intersectional gender equity movement.

Open to all members of the CWRU community. Registration requested online

Sponsored by: Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, Ellipsis Institute for Women of Color in the Academy

Contact: Shemariah Arki, 216.368.0985, sxa582@case.edu


THIRTY: Exploring Artistically the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Exhibit Opening and Reception

Thursday, January 24, 2019, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Location: Kelvin Smith Library

The students of Facing History New Tech High School (a Cleveland public school) worked with artist Jason Labovitz to create this powerful collection of digital compositions exploring the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The compelling images and texts investigate the juxtaposition of human and educational rights with physical visual manifestations of those rights. Timothy Webster, associate professor of law, will share the history of the Declaration, and both students and the artist will discuss the creation of the exhibit.  A light reception will follow. The exhibit will be on display in the Kelvin Smith Library through April 2, 2019.

Open to all. RSVP requested to socialjustice@case.edu

Sponsored by: Kelvin Smith Library and Social Justice Institute

Contact: Lisa Kollins, 216-368-7568, lbk24@case.edu  


Multicultural Leadership Institute Retreat

Saturday, January 26, 2019, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Location: Case Western Reserve University Farm

The Multicultural Leadership Institute is collaborative initiative between the Offices of Multicultural Affairs and Student Activities & Leadership. The purpose of this institute is to help students at CWRU understand how their identities can impact and inform how they lead. The institute will give students the tools to look at leadership from a critical perspective, ultimately equipping them to lead from a both/and point of view.

Open to all CWRU Undergraduate Students

Registration requested via Campus Groups

Sponsored by: Office of Multicultural Affairs and Office of Student Activities and Leadership

Contact: John Killings, 216.368.2904, jrk160@case.edu


Women of Color Series / OIDEO Lunch & Learn : Intersectionality

Friday, February 1, 2019, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. 

Location: Tinkham Veale University Center, Senior Classroom

Introduced to the academy by Kimberly Crenshaw, PhD, critical legal scholar and executive director of the African American Policy Forum, intersectionality is defined as an analytic framework that attempts to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized in society.  

Join us as we kick off Black History Month with a lively discussion on how we can all improve our work/research/service through the application of an intersectional analysis.  

Open to all members of the CWRU community. Registration requested online

Sponsored by: Flora Stone Mather Center for Women; Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity; Ellipsis Institute for Women of Color in the Academy

Contact: Shemariah Arki, 216.368.0985, sxa582@case.edu


Reclaiming the Narrative: The Importance of the Black Male Perspective

Friday, February 1, 2019, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Location: Thwing Center 101

Robert Brown, Director of Social Justice at Northwestern University will facilitate an interactive workshop and dialogue on the experiences and needs of black men on predominantly white campuses. His workshop will address, identity development, leadership, and intersectionality.

Open to all members of the CWRU community

Sponsored by: Office of Multicultural Affairs, University Health and Counseling, The Black Student Union, Office of Residence Life

Contact: Naomi Sigg, 216-368-2904, nxs399@case.edu


Social Justice Teach-In

Saturday, February 9, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Location: Tinkham Veale University Center

The Social Justice Teach-In is designed to inspire students and community members to be active and engaged citizens, to increase their understanding of social justice issues, and to enhance their leadership skills in areas such as service, advocacy, and philanthropy. The event will feature a keynote by Anthony Grimes, an internationally recognized organizer, thought-leader, and storyteller, followed by over thirty workshop session options.

Open to all. Details and registration online

Sponsored by: Center for Civic Engagement & Learning, Social Justice Institute, InterReligious Task Force on Central America, and Center for Civic Engagement & Learning Student Executive Council

Contact: Adrian Griffin, 216.368.1461, aag72@case.edu


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Focus on Africa

In honor of U.N. World Social Justice Day

Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Location: Kelvin Smith Library

This annual event to commemorate the United Nations World Social Justice Day will feature a panel of speakers exploring how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has impacted - and failed to impact - various issues and populations across the African continent. Civil rights attorney Jacqueline Greene (LAW '11) will provide a brief overview of the Declaration and Inamori Center executive director Shannon French will moderate.  Featured panelists and topics include:

  • George S. Kamanda, international human rights scholar and JD candidate, CWRU School of Law - women's economic rights in Sierra Leone
  • Felix Kumah-Abiwu, assistant professor of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University - voting rights in Ghana 
  • Sara Thiam, visiting assistant professor, Anthropology, CWRU - children's rights in Senegal and Mali

 A light reception will follow. Open to all. RSVP requested to socialjustice@case.edu

Sponsored by: Social Justice Institute, the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, and the Kelvin Smith Library

Contact: Lisa Kollins, 216-368-7568, lbk24@case.edu  


Mentor Meet & Greet

Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Location: Thwing Ballroom

The purpose of the event is to give undergraduate first-generation students the opportunity to meet with mentors who are also first-generation students

Open to all members of the CWRU community, specifically first-generation students and first-generation faculty and staff.

Registration information forthcoming.

Sponsored by: Office of Multicultural Affairs

Contact: Janee Kelly, 216.368.2904, janee.kelly@case.edu