Hill Harper Photo from Northwestern University

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Northwestern University will commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a series of virtual Dream Week events beginning with Mariame Kaba’s keynote address at 4 p.m. CST Wednesday, Jan. 13. Several events are free and open to the public, including the keynote.

Additional public events include an oratorical contest at noon, Friday, Jan. 15, the Alpha Phi Alpha Candlelight Vigil at 3 p.m., Monday, Jan. 18 and a panel on systemic racism in law and medicine at noon, Tuesday, Jan. 19.

MLK Dream Week 2021 is a cross-campus collaboration with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.

Reservation links and event information are available on the Northwestern MLK website.

The keynote speaker was selected with this year’s One Book, One Northwestern selection, Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy,” in mind as well as the Women’s Center’s programmatic theme of Mutual Aid and Community Engagement.

Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator, curator and prison industrial complex (PIC) abolitionist who is active in movements for racial, gender and transformative justice. Kaba is founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots organization with a mission to end youth incarceration, and a member of the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table. Kaba is currently a researcher at Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, a project she co-founded with Andrea Ritchie in 2018.

Evanston Events

MLK Dream Week Keynote with Mariame Kaba, 4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 13

In her MLK keynote address, Kaba will discuss prison industrial complex abolition as a vision for a restructured society based on care, cooperation and true safety.

The program will also include a video performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performed by the Northwestern Community Ensemble and alumni in honor of the 50th anniversary of the ensemble’s founding.

Eva Jefferson Day, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, Jan. 18

Northwestern students will lead a virtual program of arts, crafts and discussion about the legacy of Dr. King for Family Focus Evanston students.

Candlelight Vigil: “Activism during a pandemic and the healing of incarcerated peoples,” 3 p.m., Monday, Jan. 18

The first MLK Day at Northwestern was established in 1980, three years before the national holiday was established, by the Alpha Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Dr. King’s fraternity.

This year’s Candlelight Vigil address will be given by Hill Harper, an actor, author, activist, philanthropist and Brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Harper is an award-winning actor who starred in the CBS TV dramas “CSI: NY” and “Limitless” and USA Network’s “Covert Affairs,” and alongside Will Smith in the film “Concussion.” He is the author of four New York Times bestselling books, including “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother,” and has earned seven NAACP Image Awards for his writing and acting.

Harper is the founder of Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship, scholarship and grant programs.

The Candlelight Vigil will also include a video performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performed by the Northwestern Community Ensemble and alumni in honor of the 50th anniversary of the ensemble’s founding.