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University of Utah Marks 20th Annual Martin Luther King Celebration, January 12-19

Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

December 29, 2003 — Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, headlines a full slate of events to mark the University of Utah’s 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, “Looking Back, Moving Forward: Twenty Years of Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations at the University of Utah,” Jan. 12-19. All events are free and open to the public. (See p. 3 for calendar of events.)

The first King celebration on the U of U campus was organized 20 years ago by Afesa Adams, the U’s associate vice president for academic affairs at the time. The hope was to bring the community to the campus to discuss King’s ideas and principles and see how they could be applied to current issues. Since the first celebration, which ended with a standing-room-only presentation by Maya Angelou, presenters have included civil rights leader Andrew Young, musician Taj Mahal, and activist Morris Dees.

This year, on Thurs., Jan. 15, Wright, pastor since 1972 of the largest United Church of Christ congregation in the United States, will deliver the keynote address at noon in the Olpin Union Ballroom. A native of Philadelphia, Wright studied at Howard University, the University of Chicago Divinity School, and United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, earning degrees in English literature, the history of religions, and Black sacred music. A book signing will follow his address.

On Sun., Jan. 18, at 5 p.m., KUED-Channel 7 will present “One on One: An Interview with Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.”

ADAAWE will appear at Kingsbury Hall on Mon., Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. The eight-member, all-women group creates music through drum and voice, drawing on the Adaawe tradition of Ghana, West Africa, in which women gather in the moonlight to create music and sing songs about life’s joys and sorrows.

Tickets for the event are free but must be picked up in advance (Kingsbury Hall: 581-7100; Union Main Desk: 581-5888). Prior to the show, the University will present Youth Leadership Awards to several students, grades 7-12, from throughout the state of Utah for their dedication to service and building bridges among communities.

Several other events round out the weeklong celebration. To mark the 20-year anniversary of the King celebration, an exhibit, “A Historical Look at Human Rights at the University of Utah, 1850-2004,” will be on display at the Olpin Union Ballroom, Jan. 12-23. The exhibit will use archival photos and historical documents to illustrate human rights issues in student life, academics, athletics, and other areas at the U.

Two films will be shown on campus during the celebration: on Mon., Jan. 12, “Far from Heaven” will be at the Olpin Union Theatre at 7 p.m., and on Tues., Jan. 13, “Amandla!” will be at the same theatre at 7 p.m. Later in the week, on Thurs., Jan. 15, students from the U’s Department of Theatre will present “Playing on ‘The Road to Brown’: An Interactive Exploration” at 3 p.m. at the Olpin Union Saltair Room. Working with the documentary “The Road to Brown,” about the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case, actors explore issues of race with members of the audience.

In addition to the above events, the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, in conjunction with the Moran Eye Center and KUER, will collect donations of eyeglasses and dollars for the Indian Walk-in Center. Glaucoma screening and vision acuity testing will be provided at the center, 120 W. 1300 So., on Jan. 12, 13, and 14. Used lenses can be dropped off at the Olpin Union or any of the seven U of U Optical Shops during the month of January. Cash donations may be sent to the University of Utah’s Office of the Associate Vice President for Diversity, 201 S. Presidents Cr., Rm. 204, Salt Lake City, UT 84112.

For more information on the celebration events, visit or call Leo Leckie at 801-581-7569.

2004 University of Utah Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
“Looking Back, Moving Forward: Twenty Years of Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations at the University of Utah”


January 1-31, Community Service Project, with KUER-FM 90 and the John A. Moran Eye Center: “Seeing the Needs of Our Community” Free visual acuity and glaucoma screenings by the Moran Eye Center, plus community donations of eyeglasses and dollars for the Indian Walk-in Center

January 12-23, Exhibit, Olpin Union Ballroom Corridor: “A Historical Look at Human Rights at the University of Utah, 1850-2004”

Monday – Tuesday, January 12-13, Feature Films, Olpin Union Theatre: “Far from Heaven,” Jan. 12, 7 p.m., and “Amandla!” Jan. 13, 7 p.m.

Thursday, January 15, Keynote Speaker, Noon, Union Ballroom: Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago

Thursday, January 15, Playing on “The Road to Brown”: An Interactive Exploration, 3 p.m., Union Saltair Room. Event using process drama strategies to explore the documentary, “The Road to Brown,” examining the life of an individual who set the stage for Brown v. Board of Education.

Sunday, January 18, KUED Presentation, 5 p.m., Channel 7: “One on One: An Interview with Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr.

Monday, January 19, Cultural Event and Presentation of Youth Leadership Awards, 6:30 p.m., Kingsbury Hall (free, but ticket required): An Evening of Singing and Drumming with ADAAWE

Visit or call 581-7569 for detailed information.