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Belmont celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with service and events

Belmont’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Week begins Friday, with guest speakers, community service and other events.

Since 1997, the university has held a week of events to celebrate King’s birthday and legacy. A candlelight vigil, chapel service and seminars take place each year.

This year, the week will kick off with a breakfast and convocation featuring Bishop Vashti McKenzie, the first female bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Other guest speakers include Ronald L. Jones and Dr. Rohini Anand. A chapel with author and speaker Dr. Brenda Salter-McNeil will conclude the week’s events on Jan. 25.

“There is something for all segments of the Belmont community, as well as the Nashville community,” said Dr. Bernard Turner, an associate professor of social entrepreneurship and member of the MLK Week committee.

He hopes King’s life and words can impact the Belmont community, he said.

“I believe the impact of Dr. King’s legacy will be magnified through the events and speakers aligned with our theme of ‘One Nation, One People, One Dream,’ as we are reminded of how he exemplified hope, togetherness, love and respect for others,” Turner said.

Below is an overview of the week’s events, with asterisks next to events where students can earn convocation credit.

Friday: Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast featuring Bishop Vashti McKenzie (7:30-8:30 a.m. in the Janet Ayers Academic Center 4th Floor Conference Room) *Convocation with Bishop McKenzie, who will speak about how future generations can continue King’s legacy (10-10:50 a.m. in the Massey Performing Arts Center)

Saturday: *Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. This event is full, but students can find more volunteer opportunities here (11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Tennessee State University)

Monday: Candlelight Vigil (7-8:30 p.m. in the Gabhart Student Center A&B)

Wednesday: *Convocation with Ronald L. Jones, the founder of DareIILead, who will speak about student leadership (10-10:50 a.m. in the Gabhart Student Center A&B) Faculty and Staff forum with Dr. Rohini Anand, the senior vice president for corporate responsibility and global chief diversity officer at Sodexo, talking about the importance of diversity (10-10:50 a.m., location to be decided) *Worship Service with the Black Student Association (6-8 p.m. in the JAAC Chapel)

Thursday: Real Talk with Faculty and Staff (11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Inman Health Science Building, Frist Lecture Hall)

Friday: *Chapel with Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, who will speak about soul change and social change (10-10:50 a.m. in the JAAC Chapel)

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