Western to celebrate MLK week

MONMOUTH — Oregon public scholar and activist Walidah Imarisha will speak at Western Oregon University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Dinner. Several of WOU’s diversity-related groups will present additional events surrounding the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day from Monday to Jan. 18.

Imarisha is an educator, writer, public scholar and spoken-word artist. Imarisha has presented statewide as a public scholar with Oregon Humanities’ Conversation Project on topics such as Oregon Black history, alternatives to incarceration and the history of hip hop. Her nonfiction book Angels with Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption won a 2017 Oregon Book Award.

• On the observed holiday, Monday, WOU students and local community members are invited to make a difference by volunteering to pack care packages for the Western Oregon University community. The event will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Historic Gentle House, 855 Monmouth Ave. N. Helpers must submit a volunteer form before the event.

• On Tuesday, WOU will host a “poverty simulation,” during which students, employees and community members will gain a broader understanding of poverty and its impact on individuals through an experiential learning and critical analysis activity. The session will be from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Pacific Room at the Werner University Center. It is free to attend.

• The MLK Jr. Celebration dinner will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 17. Held in the Werner University Center and featuring a keynote by Imarisha. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for general admission (including dinner) and can be purchased at the Werner University Center front desk or in Disability Services.

• The final event of the MLK Jr. commemoration week will be a Jan. 18 student-led forum on the topic of “Media’s Representation of Marginalized Communities.” Members of the WOU Black Student Union will facilitate a critical analysis of media representations including the different perspectives of attendees. The conversation will be 4 to 6 p.m. in the Willamette Room in the WUC.

For more information about MLK Jr. Celebration week, visit wou.edu.

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