In celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Virginia Tech will host a variety of educational and cultural programs and community service events Jan. 14-19, 2007. All events are free and open to the public.

The 2nd annual MLK Week Celebration begins Sunday, Jan. 14 as university and community leaders join the local NAACP chapter for the annual NAACP Community MLK Celebration from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Schaeffer Memorial Baptist Church in Christiansburg.

On Monday, Jan. 15, Virginia Tech will host a community breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Commonwealth Ballroom, Squires Student Center. Featured speaker for the event will be John Stokes, who helped organize a student walk-out in Farmville, Va., in appeal of the dreadful building conditions of the all-black R.R. Morton High School. With the help of the NAACP, Stokes and other student participants filed a lawsuit--Davis vs. Prince Edward County, Farmville, Virginia--which eventually was covered under the umbrella lawsuit of Brown vs. the Board of Education, and which ultimately resulted in the end of school segregation. The event is free but registration is required.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. on that same date, a vigil (coordinated by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity) in front of Burruss Hall on the Drillfield will commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A keynote address will follow at 7 p.m. in Burruss Hall Auditorium. Additional information regarding the keynote speaker is pending.

An information session for the Multicultural Opportunity and Social Awareness Interest Community (MOSAIC)--the new intercultural living environment that embraces all types of diversity--will be offered at the Slusher Hall Kitchen at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16 and Thursday, Jan. 18.

On Wednesday, Jan. 17, Lerone Bennett, Jr., prolific writer of nine books including What Manner of Man: A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. and executive editor emeritus of Ebony magazine, along with Nikki Giovanni, world-renowned poet and professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, will read and discuss selected works as part of the MLK Literary Event. This presentation will be held in Burruss Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m.

A Taskforce on Race and Institution Forum is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18 in the Commonwealth Ballroom of Squires Student Center, and on Friday, Jan. 19, the week-long celebration will conclude as Virginia Tech holds its tenth annual Diversity Summit from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Owens Banquet Room. The Diversity Summit and the Taskforce on Race and Institution Forum will provide the Virginia Tech community with a unique opportunity to engage and interact with each other on the issue of diversity. Ideas generated from both events will help shape the landscape at Virginia Tech. Registration is required for the Diversity Summit.

In recognition of Dr. King’s teachings of service and action, a variety of community service projects will also run throughout the week. The first service project on Monday will include a food drive from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Commonwealth Ballroom at Squires Student Center. The food drive will benefit area food banks and Headstart Centers. At 9 a.m., transportation will be provided to the Roanoke Rescue Mission to help serve meals. Registration is required to participate in the Rescue Mission and space is limited. Please refer to main MLK website for more information.

Community members can also contribute to the week-long celebration by stopping by Squires Student Center to write a letter to deployed soldiers, elders in nursing homes, and homeless children on Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or by making a book for children in the high conflict areas of Uganda and India from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on January 18 and 19.

As part of the week-long celebration, Virginia Tech and the Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County Chapter of the NAACP sponsored a poster and essay contest for elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Montgomery, Radford City, Giles, Floyd and Pulaski counties and other communities in Virginia. The winners will be formally recognized at the Community Breakfast on Monday, January 15th.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week celebration is coordinated by the Virginia Tech Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and is supported by several campus and community organizations, including the Office for Equal Opportunity, Service Learning Center, Division of Student Affairs, Office of the President, Provost Office, the Pamplin College of Business, the Montgomery-Radford City-Floyd County NAACP, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and other student organizations.

For more information, please contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at 540-231-1820, or Ray Plaza, projects specialist for Diversity Initiatives at 540-231-7289.

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