Penn Presents Annual Symposium on Social Change Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The University of Pennsylvania will honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with film screenings, lectures, workshops, panel discussions and musical performances during its 22nd Annual Commemorative Symposium on Social Change, Jan. 15-Feb. 2. 

Organized by the African-American Resource Center at Penn, all MLK Symposium events are free and open to the public. 

“Opening our doors to embrace programming dedicated to realizing Dr. King's vision transforms the campus,” said Valerie Allen, the director of the Center. “Sharing our strengths and diversity as we commemorate Dr. King unites Penn’s campus and the Philadelphia community as a whole.”

The centerpiece is the annual Day of Service, Monday, Jan. 16, which opens with a breakfast for volunteers in Houston Hall’s Hall of Flags at 8:30 a.m. 

After breakfast, attendees will participate in a variety of community-service projects, including recording books-on-tape to promote literacy, a drive to collect professional attire for women re-entering the workplace, beautification efforts at local recreation centers and a workshop on understanding college admissions. 

Other events during the 2017 Symposium include a workshop on money management for families, Jan. 17; the Interfaith Program and Awards Commemoration, Jan. 19; “Preparing Children for Real Life,” a financial reality fair, Jan. 21; “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” a seminar on strengthening partnerships between universities and communities, Jan. 23; “From the Great Migration to Black Lives Matter,” a presentation, panel discussion and reception, Jan. 25; a film screening of “On Two Fronts,” an exploration of Latino service during the Vietnam War, Jan. 26; and “Jazz for King,” an evening of live music and poetry readings, Jan. 27, at Philadelphia’s African-American Museum.

These events lead to the 16th annual MLK Lecture on Social Justice, Jan. 30, featuring MSNBC national correspondent Joy-Ann Reid and Charles Blow, a columnist at The New York Times. Later that week, Thursday, Feb. 2 at DuBois College House, there will be a screening of “13th,” a documentary from Ava DuVernay that examines mass incarceration, as well as a discussion with a group of formerly incarcerated people about their insights on the film.



Martin Luther King, Jr.