Campus News

Carolina to celebrate MLK Day with banquet, lecture

The University will begin its commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17 with an annual banquet and awards presentation. The celebrations will conclude a week later with a lecture led by the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network.

The statue memorial for Martin Luther King Jr. in West Potomac Park, Washington D.C.
(Adobe Stock image)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy with a week of events beginning Jan. 17.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a visionary with a dream that would change our country for the better,” said Sibby Anderson Thompkins, Carolina’s interim chief diversity officer and special adviser to the provost and chancellor for equity and inclusion. “Not only did he stand up against segregation, but he also promoted the idea of justice for all. Through the message of his legacy, Dr. King continues to be a driving force in mobilizing people from all walks of life to promote peace, equality, tolerance and justice.”

Carolina will kick off its celebration with the 36th annual University/Community Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet and Award Presentation on Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. The virtual event will raise scholarship funds for local high school and college students who have demonstrated a commitment to community involvement through civic, educational and religious activities.

Speakers will include Gov. Roy Cooper, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Carl Fox, a longtime Superior Court judge who was the first Black judge in his Orange-Chatham County district. Tickets are $20 and are available on the MLK University/Community Planning Corporation’s website.

Carolina students will also host the annual MLK Student Day of Service — extended this year because of the pandemic — through a book drive and a letter-writing campaign starting Jan. 18. Books can be donated at boxes in the Carolina Union and the Student and Academic Services Building through Feb. 28. For more information on the letter-writing program, visit

The University will conclude its celebration with the MLK Lecture and Awards Ceremony on Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. Held virtually this year, the event will honor Carolina juniors and staff members for their work on campus. Patrisse Cullors, a social activist, author and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, will be the guest speaker.

“This week represents an opportunity to recognize students, faculty and staff who have made lasting contributions to advancing social justice and the chance for each of us to rededicate ourselves to Dr. King’s legacy and the values he distilled into our society,” said Anderson Thompkins.

For more information, visit the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion website.

Editor’s note: The COVID-19 testing centers that are part of the Carolina Together Testing Program (located in the Carolina Union, Rams Head and CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio) will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Visit the Carolina Together website for testing hours the weeks of Jan. 11 and Jan. 18.