UTAH (ABC4) – Every year, the third Monday of January recognizes the legacy of Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.; inviting Americans across the nation to pay tribute and practice to love thy neighbor.

On January 18, Citizens are finding it difficult in celebrating the holiday as the world remains in a global pandemic, but we at ABC4 came prepared and have gathered ways to further commemorate King’s legacy.

This week the University of Utah dedicates its time to Martin Luther King Jr., with events spread out across the board.

“At the University of Utah, we celebrate the educational access and opportunities that Dr. King’s legacy has provided in the United States,” writes the school. “Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Week (MLK Week) has become a platform to engage students, faculty, staff and community members in critical conversations around contemporary Civil Rights issues and race in America. MLK Week is planned by a volunteer committee of students, faculty, and staff collaborating across the university. All are welcome to get involved and participate!”


The University kicks off the week with a virtual car rally. Following the event, a recording of the live stream can be found on YouTube and the podcast audio can be found here.

Mary Ann Villarreal, Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, writes;

“Let [historians] say it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war…walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.” – John Lewis

Today we launch our MLK Week on a virtual platform, a podcast that includes many leaders from our communities. I invite you to listen and share with friends and colleagues. We owe a great deal of thanks to the MLK Week Committee for their thoughtful work, as they put together events that bring us together in conversation focused on learning, healing, and action on our campus and community. You’ll find a listing of this year’s events here, with many ways to stimulate our minds and our hearts and take action.

This year, it’s all about Good Trouble, “necessary trouble,” in the words of Congressman John Robert Lewis.  As you engage with these events, think about your own plan for “Good Trouble.” What do you want it to be, how is it defined, what is the outcome? Who are the people you want to gather with to help accomplish this? Who are the unlikely people you want to bring along?

I am hopeful that the programming inspires new ideas of good trouble, helps calm and heal our hearts, and sparks that vision of working together in this time of needed change. Change asks us to not only think differently, but to dream and act upon what we want. This is true not only at the U, but across our country. We know that some people respond to change with great excitement, they see a path and have a plan. Others are more cautious, uncertain, and hold back. But if we look to one another, even to those who are not ready to embrace it, we can support each other and realize great action and progress together.  

As you listen and participate week, let the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the words of John Robert Lewis ring in our ears – “Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”His words and those of Dr. King have been a clarion call for decades – and now for the students at the U. Change is upon us, how do you want to accelerate it and make this campus, this city, this state, this world more equitable? Realize our goal of being an anti-racist campus?

We need you and we need each other if we are to uproot white supremacy so that can create an inclusive campus where all thrive, where all see themselves in the fabric of our community.    John Robert Lewis spent more than 50 years on this road – and although I hope it doesn’t take us another 50 years to realize our goals, I acknowledge we must all walk together, shoulder to shoulder, to help “redeem the soul of our nation.”

So, as you listen, engage and absorb the beauty of dance and the words of others this week, I encourage each of us to push ourselves, listen like never before, think about our own march and what that looks like, who you want to join, and find that equanimity and goodness that lies in all of us. Put that “good trouble, necessary trouble” into action – as we all work together to make the U an anti-racist campus and realize the dreams and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Robert Lewis, are a part of each of us.

Starting January 19, the school will hand out “swag” items such as car magnets, car flags, and health care packages which can be picked up from the Spencer Fox Eccles Business BuildingS.J. Quinney College of Law, and A. Ray Olpin Student Union front desk while supplies last.


“Dancing is a source of transformation, celebration, and affirmation. Choreographers Katlyn Addison and Jennifer Archibald make performances that show us the intricacies of emotional landscapes as they create new forms of dance that merge different vocabularies, including ballet, hip hop, and the art of fencing,” shares the school.

On January 19 individuals will be able to watch recent works by these artists and then engage in conversation with them and with Brooke Wertwijn, a University of Utah dancer who performed in Addison’s choreography entitled, Saint-George, The Composer, Fencer, and Creator. Archibald will be sharing her recent screendance called WeAIghT, choreographed by Archibald in collaboration with filmmaker Andrew Cashin, featuring dancer James Gilmer and music by Philip Hamilton. Please join us for an evening of creative brilliance and scintillating dialogue.

“Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about the importance of such creative artists, ‘Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.’ The University of Utah School of Dance is fortunate to have both Addison and Archibald as guest choreographers working with student-dancers during this 2020-21 school year.”

To register for the event click here.


“The divisions of modern U.S. cities and de-facto segregation did not arise by accident. Real estate practices, federal loan programs, and even local ordinances combined help reinforce a process known as “redlining.” Redlining, as well as forced migration, and pervasive environmental racism have all contributed to divisions and current polices in our major cities that have left marginalized communities disenfranchised,” the university shares.

Join panelists as they examine what enabled these policies to shape our communities and what can be done to combat their effects.

Reframing the Conversation brings together experts from across campus and the community to spark important conversations around racism, othering, and safety. With these conversations, we are striving to counteract the growing culture of othering with a culture of belonging.

Registration is required to attend.


For those interested, the university will also be hosting a film screening followed by a Q&A

Mossville, Louisiana: A once-thriving community founded by formerly enslaved and free people of color, and an economically flourishing safe haven for generations of African American families. Today it’s a breeding ground for petrochemical plants and their toxic black clouds. Many residents are forced from their homes, and those that stay suffer from prolonged exposure to contamination and pollution. Amid this chaos and injustice stands one man who refuses to abandon his family’s land – and his community.


“Please join Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner for her monthly dean’s book review. The book to be reviewed will be, His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham, it is an intimate and revealing portrait of the civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to his passing on July 17, 2020,” informs the University of Utah. “Please RSVP. Once registered you will receive the link to participate.”

This book may be purchased or you can contact the Marriott Library to request an eBook. You do not need to purchase or read the book to participate in this book review.


Drawing on personal experience from working with Lewis over multiple documentaries, Dawn Porter will give insight into his legacy and how we can embody his message of “good trouble” through a Q&A-style interview with Dr. Andrew Nelson, chair of the Department of Film & Media Arts.

University of Utah students, staff, and faculty can stream Dawn Porter’s documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble through the J. Willard Marriott Library’s streaming platform.


Those wanting to give back and participate in honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy can join the University’s Bennion center in various service projects.

MLK Day: National Day of Service

To check out how to get involve click here.