Carolina’s MLK Celebration Week begins Jan. 15

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Carolina’s MLK Celebration Week begins Jan. 15


Highlights include speakers Soledad O’Brien, Senator Valerie Foushee and MLK 5K


(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Jan. 4, 2017) – Media are invited to cover the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week, beginning on Jan. 15. This year’s event, “Keeping the Faith: A Call to Press On,” features events dedicated to the intersection of diversity, inclusion and social justice, including keynote addresses by journalist and producer Soledad O’Brien and state Senator Valerie Foushee.


The annual MLK University/Community Banquet, MLK Day of Service 5K and the MLK Keynote Lecture and Awards Ceremony kick off the week of activities, which also includes discussions and performances focused on highlighting King’s legacy of service and social justice advocacy.


University/Community MLK Banquet with Senator Foushee

William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education

Sunday, Jan. 15 – 5 p.m.


The week begins with the 32nd annual University/Community Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Banquet and Award Presentation, hosted by the MLK University/Community Planning Corporation in partnership with UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. The Corporation is a non-profit group founded in 1993 that raises scholarship funds for high school students in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County and Carolina 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., Citizen Awards.


Senator Foushee will give the keynote at this annual banquet. Prior to becoming a North Carolina State Senator in 2013, Foushee was a member of the N.C. House of Representatives, chaired both the Board of Commissioners in Orange County and Board of Education for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School system and served in the Chapel Hill Police Department for 21 years.


For additional information, contact MLK Celebrations co-coordinator Cameron Congleton at


“The Time is Now” Day of Service 5K Run

Starts at the Old Well (Cameron Avenue)

Monday, Jan. 16 – 7:30 a.m.


On-site registration for the run begins at 6:30 a.m. at the Campus Y. In keeping with Dr. King’s lifelong commitment to bridge building, all funds raised by the run will be donated to the Faith Danielle Hedgepeth Scholarship, which celebrates and honors the life of this former student. A biology major, Hedgepeth’s goal was to become a pediatrician in the hopes of giving back to her community and the people of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian tribe.


For additional information, contact MLK Celebrations Co-Coordinator Jackie Ceron-Hernandez at


MLK Keynote Lecture and Awards Ceremony with Soledad O’Brien

Memorial Hall

Tuesday, Jan. 17 – 7:30 p.m.


Recipients of the University’s MLK Scholarship and Unsung Hero Awards will be recognized and a keynote address will be delivered by award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer Soledad O’Brien.


In 2013, O’Brien launched Starfish Media Group, a multi-platform media production and distribution company dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity, through personal stories. She is the originator of the highly successful documentary series “Black in America” and “Latino in America” and a contributor of programming to CNN, HBO Real Sports and Al Jazeera America. O’Brien and her husband also created the PowHERful Foundation to help provide disadvantaged young women access and success at college.


For additional information, contact MLK Celebrations Co-Coordinator Jay Peterkin at


More details and the full roster of events are available here.




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 110 master’s, 64 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s 317,000-plus alumni live in all 50 states and 156 other countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


Diversity and Multicultural Affairs contact: Adrianne Gibilisco, (919) 843-6085,

Communications and Public Affairs contact: MC VanGraafeiland, (919) 962-7090,