University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM Celebrates Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Release Date: 01-18-2008

Author: Lee Ann Cox
Phone: 802/656-1107 Fax: (802) 656-3203

A speech by artist and humanitarian Harry Belafonte. Provocative discussions on the biology of race and the violence of prejudice. The University of Vermont is honoring Martin Luther King Jr. with a full slate of events intended to embrace and celebrate his legacy. The university’s King program was developed by the Office of the Associate Provost for Multicultural Affairs and Academic Initiatives in collaboration with students and other offices dedicated to social justice and equity.

Event schedule:

Tuesday, January 22

Harry Belafonte Speech
4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Ira Allen Chapel

Belafonte, the first recipient of the Nelson Mandela Courage Award, among many other honors for his work fighting for human rights worldwide, will speak on the subjects of social justice and equity. Tickets are free and distributed on a first come first serve basis at the Hoffman Information Desk on the first floor of the Davis Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. UVM faculty, staff, and students can pick up tickets January 14-17 (one per UVM ID). Tickets will be available to the general public January 18-22. To view previous article on Belafonte, go to:

Wednesday, January 23

Dudley H. Davis Student Center Social Justice and Equity Day
Why is the café named for George Washington Henderson? How did the “Waterman takeover” 20 years ago change views about diversity on campus? Learn how the Davis Center fulfills its mission for social justice through celebrations and displays on site throughout the day.

Panel Discussion: The Jena 6 Case – What is it Telling Us?
12:00 to 1:30 p.m., Sugar Maple Ballroom, 4th floor, Davis Center

A provocative, intellectual discourse on recent events surrounding six black teenagers charged with beating a white teenager in Jena, Louisiana, following a number of unrelated racially charged incidents. As recently as September, 2007, thousands went to Jena in protest. Fayneese Miller, Dean of the College of Education and Social Services, will lead a discussion drawn from her talk at Brown University in October, “From Little Rock to Jena: Stumbles on the Road to a Colorblind Society.” Analyzing the issues from multidisciplinary viewpoints, the panel includes Alec Ewald, UVM assistant professor of political science; Lucy Singer, senior associate counsel at UVM; and Traci Griffith Gomez, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications at Saint Michael’s College.

Thursday, January 24

Community Connection: Sign up for Service
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at serve-a-thon sign-up tables located in the Living & Learning Fireplace Lounge, the Davis Center atrium, Waterman (near College St. entrance), and the Rowell/Given common entrance at the College of Medicine.

UVM faculty, staff, and students, as well as members of the wider community, are invited to sign up for one of the following events being organized for spring.

• April 12, Relay for Life -- a national fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society, sponsored by Greek Life. For more information or to sign-up directly contact Kimberlee Monteaux at

• April 19, Community Works Day -- spend a day helping out a local nonprofit. For more information contact Sarah Hoffert at

• May 3, Burlington Green Up Day

Residential Learning Community Social Justice and Equity Fair
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Living & Learning Fireplace Lounge

Each of UVM’s learning communities will display linkages between their field and social justice, from healthcare to environmental communities. Diversity and equity communities, clubs and organizations will also participate. Music and themed food will be on hand as well.

Talk: Is Race Real: Fact or Illusion?
6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Reception, Hoehl Gallery, Given
7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Presentation, Carpenter Auditorium, Rm E131, Given

A powerful presentation by award-winning author and University of North Carolina at Charlotte anthropology professor Jonathan Marks on the origins of race, exploring the facts and myths through a biological lens. Hosted by the College of Medicine. Marks is the author of Human Biodiversity and What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee, which was awarded the W.W. Howells prize in Biological Anthropology from the American Anthropological Association. In 2006 he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was a 2007 distinguished visiting fellow of the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum in Edinburgh.