Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance, Walk the Walk Week

Author: Sue Ryan

Walk the Walk Week

Beginning on Jan. 18 (Monday), the University of Notre Dame will host a week-long series of events, called Walk the Walk Week, to reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and encourage dialogue about diversity and inclusion.

Walk the Walk Week begins on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a candlelit prayer service at 12:01 a.m. in the Main Building. University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., will lead the prayer service. Sponsored by the Office of the President, Campus Ministry and the President’s Oversight Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, the prayer service is open to the public. The University modified plans for previously announced midnight march due to a forecast of strong winds, dangerous wind-chill conditions and significant snow accumulation.

“We at Notre Dame must participate in and learn from the ongoing national and even global conversation on diversity and inclusion,” said Father Jenkins. “Perhaps most importantly, I hope we will use this occasion to reflect on the values that are so central both to Dr. King’s legacy and to Notre Dame’s mission.”

A luncheon on MLK Day, sponsored by the President’s Oversight Committee, will provide an opportunity for campus-wide conversation about building community. This free but ticketed event will be held in the Joyce Center on Jan. 18 and will feature remarks by Father Jenkins and a panel of speakers. Hugh Page, University vice president, associate provost and dean of the First Year of Studies, will offer an opening reflection and serve as master of ceremonies for the luncheon and program. John McGreevy, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and professor of history, will moderate a panel discussion featuring Katie Washington Cole, University Trustee and valedictorian from the class of 2010; Luis Fraga, the Arthur Foundation Endowed Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership and professor of political science; Jennifer Mason McAward, acting director of the Notre Dame Center for Civil and Human Rights and associate professor of law; and Steven Waller, a member of the class of 2017 and mechanical engineering and economics major. The event will be live streamed at

Community-building lunches, open to Notre Dame faculty, students and staff, will also be held simultaneously in the University’s North and South Dining Halls Jan. 18. A University ID is required for entry.

A celebration Mass featuring the Notre Dame Voices of Faith Gospel Choir will take place at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at 5:15 p.m. Jan. 18. Father Jenkins will preside.

Other campus departments will also host events during Walk the Walk Week. Those include:

Jan. 18 (Monday):

  • Constitutional Studies 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Lecture – Noon – South Dining Hall (Oak Room)

Rev. Dominic Legge, professor of systematic theology at the Dominican House of Studies, will present “Martin Luther King Jr. and the Question of ‘Illegal Laws’: Civil Law, Justice, and Morality.” Lunch will be provided.

Father Legge holds a doctorate in sacred theology from the University of Fribourg and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Before becoming a Dominican priest, he practiced law for several years as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. This event is sponsored by the Tocqueville Program and Constitutional Studies.

  • Display: Civil Rights Photographs, 1-4 p.m., Snite Museum of Art

A special viewing of six Civil Rights-era photographs, including a portrait of King, will be on display as part of the exhibition “New to The Collection: Twentieth-Century Photographs.” Admission is free and open to the public.

  • Lecture: “Black Lives Matter: The Hashtag Behind the New Civil Rights Movement” – 7-9 p.m., Room 101, DeBartolo Hall

Black Lives Matter movement co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi will speak about race relations in America and how their activism from the fringes became the national movement it is today. This event is sponsored by Multicultural Student Programs and Services, Gender Relations Center, Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture, Student Government, Department of Africana Studies and the Division of Student Affairs.

Jan. 19 (Tuesday):

  • Center for Social Concerns Service Fair – 6-8 p.m., Geddes Hall

Every year, the Center for Social Concerns invites local not-for-profit organizations, service and social action clubs to campus to educate members of the Notre Dame community about the agencies’ work and ways people can get involved in outreach activities. More than 40 organizations are expected to attend the information fair. This event is open to Notre Dame students, faculty and staff.

Jan. 20 (Wednesday):

  • Civil Rights Then and Now: African Americans and Latinos – 12:30 p.m., Morris Inn Private Dining Room

Open to the University community, this lunch conversation in honor of King is sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies and the Institute for Latino Studies. The event will feature Hugh Page as moderator and speakers Luis Fraga, Dianne Pinderhughes, department chair of Africana Studies and professor of political science, and Tim Matovina, co-director of the Institute for Latino Studies and professor of theology. Reservations required. Contact Gayle Carter-Wilson at or Idalia Maldonado at for reservations.

  • Film screening of “Selma” – 8 p.m., Browning Cinema, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

Presented by the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, this true story chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when King led a campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Following the movie, Rev. Nicholas Ayo, C.S.C., professor emeritus in the Program of Liberal Studies who took part in the historic voter rights march, will offer his reflections. This event is free but ticketed. For tickets, visit

Jan. 21–Jan. 24 (Thursday-Sunday):

  • Higher Ground Series – DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

Multiple events, films and presentations will take place celebrating the human spirit, the power of a unified community and King’s legacy. See for event dates, times and ticket information.

Jan. 22 (Friday):

  • Space for Writing Your Stories – 3:30-5:30 p.m., Snite Museum of Art

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once said, “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” This event will allow participants to preserve and share their stories of diversity and inclusion. This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP required.

The University is also a co-sponsor of the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 18, presented by the South Bend Heritage Foundation and the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation of St. Joseph County. Events include a community service recognition breakfast, a memorial march, 2016 Youth Community Service Awards and a concert at the Morris Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit

For more information about Walk the Walk Week events, visit

Contact: Sue Lister, director of media relations, 574-631-7916,