Skip navigation

UCO To Host Week of Activities Celebrating The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan. 10, 2013

Media Contact:  Courtney Harlin, University Relations Staff Writer, University of Central Oklahoma, 405-974-2121,


The University of Central Oklahoma will offer the community several ways to celebrate the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. during “King Week,” a series of activities set to begin Monday, Jan. 21.

Organizers hope to inspire students and address injustices people have faced or may still face because of their race, gender or sexual orientation.

“It has been nearly 50 years since the famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech was delivered by Dr. King, and in those 50 years our world has progressed to be one where many individuals can now say that the dream is a reality,” said MeShawn Conley, director of Central’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI).

“It is important that we continue to recognize Dr. King and those who served during the civil rights movement because it was their determination, sacrifice and fortitude that allow many of us to live the dream today.”

On Monday, Jan. 21, Central’s Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC) will host its annual King Week Day of Service, where students are encouraged to spend their day off from classes serving the community.

This year, volunteers will serve either at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma or at the Infant Crisis Services Center.

“Our theme at the VSLC has always been ‘a day on, not a day off.’ Central students are giving up their day off school to serve. Our goal is for the community to know Central is committed to honoring Dr. King's dream through service,” said Lyndsay Holder, assistant director of the VSLC.

Central students can register to volunteer in person at the VSLC in the Nigh University Center (NUC), Room 212, or by calling 405-974-2621.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, members of the Central community are encouraged to honor Dr. King’s legacy and dream by taking part in the March for Unity starting at 2 p.m. in the NUC and will continue around the perimeter of campus.

Student organizations, offices and individuals are invited to design posters and signs to showcase during the march celebrating the unity of UCO while recognizing the peaceful spirit of Dr. King.

At 3 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23 in the NUC, Ballroom A, selected finalists will compete for the top prize in the final round of the college portion of the Martin Luther King Jr. Enterprise Oratory Competition, sponsored by Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Central’s ODI.

After participating during the qualifying round held Nov. 14, the three Central students who will compete for cash prizes are Vincent Burr, junior mass communication major, Isaiah Jones, senior, finance major, and Ashley Neely, senior, accounting major.

Prizes include a $500 cash award for first place, $250 for second place and $150 for third place.

To conclude King Week, there will be a book club discussion on “King’s Dream: The Legacy of Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speech” at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24 in the NUC, Room 300. In this new exploration of the “I have a dream” speech, author Eric J. Sundquist places it in the history of American debates about racial justice and demonstrates how the speech perfectly expressed the story of African American freedom.

Shirletta Kinchen, Ph.D., U.S. history and African American history professor at Central, will lead the discussion and lunch will be provided. 

All events during King Week are free and open to the public.

“I hope during this week our students will feel inspired to address many of the injustices that still continue within our communities toward people of color, women, those of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning community, just to name a few, and that they will stand up for change,” added Conley.

For more information about Central’s King Week, contact the ODI at 405-974-3588 or visit