Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration: Uniting for Equity

News subtitle

With in-person and virtual events, the Dartmouth community honors King’s legacy.


Dartmouth’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration will explore the civil rights leader’s legacy with a series of discussions, performances, and events—some livestreamed, some in-person—around the theme of “Uniting for Equity.”

“Many of the ideas Dr. King espoused were about working together,” says Shontay Delalue, Dartmouth’s senior vice president and senior diversity officer. “The theme allows us to think about how we all individually can contribute to the collective good.”

This year’s keynote speaker is educator, author, and community organizer Robert S. Harvey, the superintendent of the East Harlem Scholars Academies, a network of community-based public charter schools in New York City. Harvey is also the author of Abolitionist Leadership in Schools, a guide for leaders countering the legacy of racism in schools. Delalue describes him as “just a phenomenal educator, orator, and a person deeply committed to equity in education.”

Harvey’s address—a virtual event that is free and open to the public—will be delivered at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19. Delalue and and Kailah Hester ’24 will provide opening remarks. Registration is required.

Delalue says Dartmouth’s celebration of King’s life and work is unique.

“At Dartmouth, we think about the celebration of King’s legacy over a span of time, as opposed to just the one day marked as the MLK Day,” she says. “This gives our community—faculty, staff, and students—an opportunity to engage in a variety of different ways, whether that be a lecture or a film screening or an intimate discussion with the keynote about the intersections of equity and religion.”

Delalue said the fact that people from throughout the Dartmouth community come together to help organize and present the variety of events “really speaks to how our community unites. It’s not one office’s job—it’s all of our jobs to work toward equity.”

On Monday, Jan. 17, employees are invited to participate in a virtual interactive workshop to reflect on how King’s legacy can be a model for their own. Delalue, who will speak at the event, says she wants participants to think about what it means “to be on the right side of history.”

She notes that during King’s lifetime, he faced intense opposition and was frequently in great danger because of reactionary resistance to his activism. “But regardless of everything he experienced, he continued to do the work. So 50 years from now, looking back at this time, what will we say about ourselves if we were to hold up a mirror and ask: During the Black Lives Matter movement, during the height of the pandemic, what was my individual contribution to equity?”

She hopes employees will leave the event “understanding that our individual voice does matter in helping to move the whole collective toward a better future.”

King himself spoke at Dartmouth Hall on the topic of “Toward Freedom” in a May 1962 speech in Dartmouth Hall that was part of the College’s Great Issues course.

Events for Everyone

Below are some of the events planned throughout January and February. Please note that in-person events are by registration and/or invitation only and are subject to change. Up-to-date information is available on the MLK celebration website. Tickets for films and performances are available through the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

16th Annual Geisel MLK Health Equity Celebration

8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, Oopik Auditorium, Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center

A celebration of best practices and listening to community leaders to reimagine a future of healing.

Film: Hive

4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16, Loew Auditorium, Black Family Visual Arts Center

The remarkable true story of a war widow whose attempts to provide for her struggling family scandalize her patriarchal Kosovo village.

2022 Virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Employee Celebration Workshop

8:30 a.m. Monday, Jan 17, livestream

A forum for employees to reflect on King’s legacy and engage (virtually) with colleagues across the institution.

Maya Wiley ’86: Fixing What We Face: How Racial Justice Can Save Our Democracy

5 p.m. Tuesday, January 18, Zoom (no registration needed)

The Rockefeller Center hosts Maya Wiley ’86, NBC and MSNBC legal analyst and former New York City mayoral candidate.

Virtual MLK Celebration Keynote with Dr. Robert S. Harvey

7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, livestream

The annual MLK Celebration, livestreamed with a keynote address by educator, author, and community connector Rev. Dr. Robert S. Harvey. (On Thursday, Harvey is also scheduled to lead two in-person events: a book discussion at noon, and a “speed stories” session for students at 5 p.m.) Space is limited for both events, which require registration.

Film: Paper and Glue

7 p.m. Thursday, Jan 20, Loew Auditorium

An inside exploration into the work of French artist JR, whose genre-blending combination of public art, photography, and large format spectacle changes hearts and minds.

Urban Bush Women Legacy + Lineage + Liberation

7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, and Saturday, Jan. 22, Moore Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts

The women-led group celebrates 35+ years of bringing untold and under-told stories to light through dance. (Members of the group will also lead a movement workshop at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, in the Hop Garage.)

Film: The First Wave, with director Matthew Heineman ’05

7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, Loew Auditorium

Matthew Heineman ’05 (Cartel Land) presents the story of three frontline workers in a harrowing, intimate, and emotional look at the early days of the pandemic.

Film: Writing With Fire

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, Loew Auditorium

Meet and marvel at the brave journalists of India’s only women-run newspaper, who blend the personal and professional with a deft touch.

Film: Free Renty: Lanier v. Harvard

4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, Loew Auditorium

This new documentary chronicles a historic lawsuit against Harvard and raises critical questions about who owns the rights to the violence of the past.

Film: Freda, with director Gessica Généus

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, Loew Auditorium

The story of a young woman’s uncertain future builds into a subtle celebration of resilience underpinned by a vivid evocation of life in Haiti.

Hannah Silverstein