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Reaffirming Equal Opportunity: Keeping the Dream Alive

Jan. 10, 2011 – The University of Utah will observe its 27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration January 17 through 21, 2011. This year’s theme, “Reaffirming Equal Opportunity: Keeping the Dream Alive,” was chosen to help inform current local and national debates about equality and civil rights. The celebration will highlight the contributions and legacy of King, as work continues toward the realization of equal opportunity for all.

Two keynote presentations will be offered: Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor, College of Law at UCLA and noted civil rights scholar will give the first address, “Reaffirming Equal Opportunity.” Michael A. Olivas, professor and the William B. Bates distinguished chair in law at the University of Houston Law Center, will offer, “The Danger of the Discourse and Why Anti-immigrant Narratives are Dangerous to All of Us.”

Once again, the traditional University of Utah rally and “marade” (combination march and parade) will be held in honor of the late King and his fellow civil rights advocates.

In addition, a new event has been added to the celebration lineup: “The Talented Tenth,” a play by Richard Wesley. The play, produced by People Productions, Utah’s only African American theater company, is directed by Richard Scharine, professor emeritus in the U of U Department of Theatre. It details the struggles of a group of successful graduates of the prestigious Howard University Business School. 25 years after marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the fight for Civil Rights, one man asks “What happened to the revolution?” Is it possible to turn his life around and become one of Du Bois’ “Talented Tenth?” The MLK, Jr. celebration planning committee is also supporting the Utah State MLK, Jr. Commission luncheon and fundraiser to be held Friday, January 14, at 10:00 am at the Utah Cultural Center.

Highlights of the university’s celebration include:

  • Friday, January 14: Utah State MLK, Jr. Commission Luncheon & Student Art Auction

    10:00 am at the Utah Cultural Center. Donations of cash, coats or canned food appreciated
  • Monday, January 17: Rally and Marade. Rally 2:00 pm at East High School, 1300 East 840 South followed by a Marade (march/parade) to the Park Building, 201 Presidents Circle at the university.
    The Marade is 1.7 miles. Please dress for the weather and walking.
  • Tuesday, January 18: Student Rally: “The Personal Responsibility of Actualizing the Dream” 11:00 am, Olpin Student Union Patio Walkway. Students come together to voice ways to keep the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive.

Tuesday, January 18: Keynote Address, Noon Olpin Student Union Ballroom. “Reaffirming Equal Opportunity” by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw.

Crenshaw is professor of law at UCLA. She teaches Civil Rights and constitutional law.

  • Wednesday, January 19: Hinckley Institute of Politics Forum. “Reaffirming Equal Opportunity: Should the Utah Constitution be Amended?”
    10:45 am, Orson Spencer Hall, Caucus Room, # 255.
    A panel discussion and forum about whether the Utah constitution should be amended to prohibit the consideration of factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, class by Utah state government agencies.

Wednesday, January 19 through Saturday, 22 and 26 – 29, 7:30 pm. The Talented Tenth – Presented by People Productions.

7:30 pm., Studio 115, U of U Performing Arts Building. Students $10/Non-students $15

  • Thursday, January 20: Keynote Address, Dr. Michael A. Olivas, “The Danger of the Discourse and Why Anti-immigrant Narratives are Dangerous to All of Us.”
    Noon in the Olpin Student Union Ballroom. Olivas is the William B. Bates distinguished chair in law at the University of Houston Law Center and director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston.
  • Thursday, January 20: “A Dialogue on Race: Immigration.”
    6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Goodwill Humanitarian Social Work Bldg.
    Sponsored by the Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission
    Presented by Theresa A. Martinez, assistant vice president for academic outreach, associate professor of sociology, University of Utah.

  • Friday, January 21, Students in Action: “A Day On, Not A Day Off.”
    1:00 pm. Center for Ethnic Student Affairs Olpin Student Union, room 235.

    A Black Student Union led community service project.

The University of Utah Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration is sponsored by the University of Utah Office for Equity and Diversity. Co-sponsors include the Hinckley Institute of Politics, the University of Utah Alumni Association, the ASUU Presenters Office and Diversity Board, University Marketing and Communications, Media One and Salt Lake City School District.

For a complete list of events and sponsors, visit .

For The Talented Tenth tickets visit / or email . Media interviews with keynote speakers Crenshaw and Olivas are available upon request.