Speech by civil rights educator begins WCU’s celebration of Martin Luther King

The Rev. Jamie Washington, social justice educator and president of a Baltimore-based multicultural organizational development firm, will be the keynote speaker for Western Carolina University’s annual celebration in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Founder of the Washington Consulting Group and a senior consultant with the Equity Consulting Group of California and Elsie Y. Cross and Associates of Philadelphia, Washington will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center as part of a program sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor.

He will discuss the nation’s progress in the area of civil rights and race relations, and what additional steps are necessary to achieve King’s vision in a talk titled “Beyond the Dream to the Vision: The Charge for the Next Generation.” A reception will follow the address.

Washington has served as an educator and administrator in higher education for more than 20 years, most recently as assistant vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. He holds a doctorate in college student development with a concentration in multicultural education from the University of Maryland College Park, and earned his master’s degree in divinity at Howard University in 2004.

Other events planned at WCU as part of the King celebration range from service activities to cultural events.

The exhibition “With All Deliberate Speed: School Desegregation in Buncombe County” will open at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 17, on the second floor of Hinds University Center. The 15-panel exhibit explores the events, legislation and actions of people that led to the desegregation of Buncombe County from the 1950s to the present time, and will highlight the students of ASCORE (Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality) who worked to integrate schools and businesses in Western North Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s.

A unity march also is planned for 4:30 p.m. Jan. 17, followed by a reception to mark King’s 82nd birthday, to be held in the theater of the University Center.

The film and discussion “Our Friend Martin: An Adventure Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.” is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, in the University Center theater.

The Koresh Dance Company will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, at the Fine and Performing Arts Center. Known for its powerful stage presence and high-energy style, the company presents a combination of ballet, modern and jazz dance. Tickets are $5 for the event, part of the 2010-11 Arts and Cultural Events Performance Series at WCU. For tickets, call 828.227.2479 or visit the FAPAC box office.

A poetry slam will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Starbucks coffee shop in the Courtyard Dining Hall.

In addition, days of service will be held Jan. 17 and Saturday, Jan. 22. Participants should register through the Center for Service Learning website, servicelearning.wcu.edu.

University administrative offices will be closed Jan. 17 in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

For more information, contact James Felton, director of intercultural affairs, at 828.227.2924.

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