During UF’s nine events centered around Martin Luther King Jr. Day this month, students will honor Malcolm X for the first time.
A succession of events begin Thursday and will continue until Jan. 31. The celebration will kick off with a walking candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Thursday from the closed Institute of Black Culture on University Avenue to the Reitz Union Rion Ballroom. While walking to the Reitz Union, students will be recreating scenes from the civil rights movement, said Ebony Love, an MLK Celebration Committee event organizer.
Following the vigil, UF Religion Professor Gwendolyn Simmons will speak about the two activists’ legacies. Students will then be able to share their experiences related to race and civil rights activism, Love said.
The 20-year-old UF history junior said the celebration’s theme is “Martin with Malcolm,” because the committee felt Malcolm X deserved recognition.
“We’re also looking at Malcolm X and the legacy that he left, and why we don’t necessarily talk about Malcolm X as much as we talk about Martin Luther King,” Love said.
Myko Nigo, a 22-year-old UF nutritional sciences senior, said he’s attending the vigil because as a member of the Asian community, he wants to support black students while learning about King.
“I think it’s important because MLK is known for his bravery and resilience and fighting for equality during his time,” Nigo said, “and especially with the racial discrimination and hate crimes as of today.”
UF events for the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration:
- Jan. 16 at 8 a.m.: MLK Day of Service at the Reitz Union Rion Ballroom
- Jan. 17 at 6 p.m.: MLK Lecture by Ibram Kendi, a UF African-American history professor who won the National Book Award, at the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.
- Jan. 23 at 6 p.m.: Educational forum hosted by Multicultural and Diversity Affairs at Arredondo Cafe.
- Jan. 25 at 6 p.m.: “Faith in Diversity” free dinner at UF Hillel.
- Jan. 27 at 6 p.m: Remembering the legacy of the Institute of Black Culture at the Reitz Union, Room 3320.
- Jan. 28 at noon: Farewell to La Casita at Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures.
- Jan. 30 at 6 p.m.: Screening of “13th,” a documentary about race and the American justice system at Smathers Library, Room 100.
- Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.: MLK Keynote Lecture from Marc Lamont Hill, an author, activist and television personality at the University Auditorium.