The Cal Poly community will be celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an event on Monday Jan. 24.
MLK Day, a federal holiday held on the third Monday of every January, marks the birthday and honors the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who would have been 93 years old on Saturday Jan. 15.
Cal Poly’s Black Academic Excellence Center, in partnership with ASI Events, is holding its sixth annual celebration to honor King’s legacy on Thursday at the Multi Activity Center. There will be an open-air reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and the main event from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
The celebration, according to a Cal Poly Multicultural Center Instagram post, will feature guest speaker Hill Harper, star of ABC’s “The Good Doctor.” Harper, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, has won seven NAACP Image Awards, four of which were for writing.
“[Harper’s] story is an example of how MLK’s legacy remains relevant and ever-evolving,” the Multicultural Center said in the post.
Although MLK Day has been a federal holiday since 1986, the Multicultural Center acknowledged how the holiday is still not positively received in many places across the United States.
“Through a brief history behind the holiday, it becomes clear that the creation and recognition of this national holiday took and continues to take decades to be accepted across the nation,” the Multicultural Center wrote in a separate Instagram post.
College of Liberal Arts Dean Philip Williams addressed Martin Luther King Jr. in an email to the college’s students and faculty.
“[King’s] words on many subjects are as relevant today as they were when he was alive,” Williams wrote. “He greatly valued education in part because it was a key for him, and for those before him, to be able to sit at tables where his voice might be heard, and he wanted others to have that same opportunity.”
Williams said that with the challenges of the past few years, people are forming opinions based on any information that supports their beliefs rather than fact, science and expertise. Williams used King’s legacy to ask students to think critically about the world around them.
“Critical thinking leads us to acknowledge and consider others’ perspectives and ideas alongside our own,” Williams said. “To our students, we ask you today to continue to use your intelligence and your character to apply critical and intense thinking to your learning here at Cal Poly and to seek out new experiences for yourself. To our staff and faculty, we encourage you to continue to engage in this type of thinking toward building a lifelong education.”
Williams ended the email with a call to action to students.
“We ask that as we celebrate one of our most important figures in United States history, you take time to think about how you can take his words to heart and continue to help honor his legacy and sacrifice,” Williams said.
Editor’s Note: The date of the event changed and was rescheduled.