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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
UNC Campus Sunday, January 14th - Thursday, January 18th Various times, most events free and open to the public. Some events do require free tickets.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

UNC’s MLK Jr. Celebration is part of a campus-wide initiative to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his legacy, and his ideals. Carolina began its celebrations of Dr. King’s life and legacy in 1983, long before there was a federal holiday. UNC is the only university ever awarded the “Making of the King Holiday Award” by the former MLK Federal Holiday Commission. UNC-CH engages in honoring King’s legacy through several efforts: MLK Celebration and Committee; MLK University and Community Corporation; Day of Service, and the MLK UNC Scholarship Program for UNC juniors.

D&I hosts this week of Celebration, which includes the MLK Celebration Banquet, the MLK Lecture, the MLK 5K fundraiser, the MLK Unsung Hero Awards, and other events. This year’s theme is “Voices. Presence. Community.”

Sunday, January 14
University/Community Annual MLK Banquet
Friday Center for Continuing Education
6:00 p.m. (reception at 5:00 p.m.)
Tickets: $30
To purchase tickets or for additional information, please contact MLK Celebration Coordinator Ariana Wiggins, at

The week begins with the 33rd annual University/Community Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Banquet and Award Presentation, hosted by the MLK Jr. Corporation, in partnership with UNC’s Office for Diversity & Inclusion. The MLK University/Community Planning Corporation, a non-profit group founded in 1993, raises scholarship funds for high school students in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County and UNC students who work to improve the quality of life for everyone in the community. Each year, the Corporation also honors citizens in “recognition of enduring service to humanity by word and by deed” through the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizenship Awards.

Monday, January 15
MLK Day of Service 5K: Voices. Presence. Community.
Campus Y (check-in)
6:00 a.m. Registration begins
7:00 a.m. Race begins
Registration: $25*
To Register, go to:

Carolina R.O.C.T.S. (Rejuvenating Our Community Through Service) will sponsor its 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. This opportunity allows individuals and groups to participate in projects at various locations in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. This event is co-sponsored by Fleet Feet, Carolina Dining Services, CHispA, and Diversity & Inclusion, along with the generous support of the Parents Council Grant program.

In keeping with Dr. King’s bridge-building work, the fundraiser will benefit Girls on the Run of the Triangle and Healthy Girls Save the World.

Girls on the Run of the Triangle is a nonprofit, physical activity-based, positive youth development program for girls in third through eighth grades designed to develop and enhance girls’ social, psychological, and physical competencies to successfully navigate life experiences. Their mission is to create a world full of joyful, healthy, and confident girls acting on their values and opportunities. As the name implies, running is a part of the program, but their primary focus is empowerment. Their experience-based curriculum is designed to help girls across the Triangle activate their limitless potential.

Healthy Girls Save the World (HGSW) is a student-run chapter at UNC of a national nonprofit organization. The mission of HGSW is to provide transformational experiences and education on proper nutrition, the benefits of physical activity, and overall healthy lifestyles so that girls will be knowledgeable and enabled to make healthy choices in their lives. HGSW organizes after-school programs and summer camps that encourage the development of healthy and balanced lifestyles for girls. HGSW aspires to serve, build, and develop young girls into powerful women that will save the world!

To view the race route, please click here.

For additional information, please contact MLK Celebration Coordinator Deanna Fayed at

Tuesday, January 16
Unity Dinner
Great Hall
6-8:00 p.m.

In the spirit of galvanizing new traditions, Diversity & Inclusion and CUAB have partnered to establish the MLK Unity Dinner that will continue to be a part of the MLK Annual Celebration for years to come. This event brings together over 20 different campus organizations from various backgrounds for a storytelling and community bridging discussion and dinner.

“He Was a Poem, He Was a Song”
Stone Center
7:00 p.m.

Join us in a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with our annual “He was a Poem, He was a Song” program. Community members, faculty, staff and students will convene to explore Dr. King’s legacy through music, poetry and spoken word. This event is part of UNC’s Annual MLK Birthday celebration.

This year’s performers include the Just Dance Academy dance troupe, the UNC Gospel Choir, UNC’s Ebony’s Readers Onyx Theater and various performances by local high school student groups.

Wednesday, January 17
Candlelight Vigil – Warriors of Freedom
Stone Center Amphitheater
5:00 p.m.

This vigil is designated for all the women that have lost their lives in the fight for equality. We will begin the walk in the amphitheater next to the Stone Center and ending at the Unsung Founders monument. Prior to beginning the walk, campus a capella groups will perform. At that time, we will also have a moment of silence and create a safe space for people to share their stories.

Thursday, January 18
MLK Celebration Keynote Lecture & Awards Ceremony
Memorial Hall
7:00 p.m.
Tickets: Free, but reservations required. Click here to reserve (or pick up tickets at the Carolina Performing Arts Box Office).
For group tickets, please email MLK Celebration coordinator Sophia McFarlane at

The lecture provides an opportunity to hear from national thought leaders on the importance of social justice, unity, action, and/or service. This year, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch will deliver the lecture. Additionally, the Keynote lecture program will include two special presentations: MLK Scholarships (awarded to a college junior) and MLK Unsung Hero Award (awarded to a UNC staff/faculty or department or a community/corporate entity).Tickets are currently available online and at the Carolina Performing Arts box office.

For additional information, please contact MLK Celebration Coordinator Sophia McFarlane at

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