Campus, community invited to UWO for Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Jan. 21 - UW Oshkosh Today
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Keeping the Dream Alive: America’s Promise will be keynote speaker Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard’s topic of discussion for the 24th-Annual Martin Luther King Jr. campus and community celebration at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus.

The event takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21 at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center, 625 Pearl Ave., Oshkosh. The celebration, which supports King Jr.’s creed for equality for all, is free and open to the public. Online registration is requested by Monday, Jan. 14 at

Keynote Pinkard, is the 22nd president at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio. He was the founding executive director of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building. The institute provided support and capacity-building assistance for 37 UNCF-member institutions.

Pinkard has served at seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and is part of a leadership development organization with a focus on developing leaders for HBCUs.

“In 1963, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech about a dream that inspired a generation,” said Byron Adams,  Student Achievement Services director at UW Oshkosh. “Almost 60 years later, the essence of that dream still inspires and lives on through programs and events like the UW Oshkosh annual MLK Day Community Celebration. The MLK event is in part about remembering the sacrifices made during the civil rights movement by those who wanted freedom and justice for all, as well as the sacrifices made by Dr. King to achieve equity and inclusion for all. ”

Kobe Allen, UW Oshkosh sophomore kinesiology student from Chicago, Illinois, will host the event; and a special song performance will be given by Oshkosh performance artist and UW Oshkosh nursing alumna NaKita Butler ’15.

The commemoration celebrates the legacy of King Jr. by honoring a community member with a Community Service Award for demonstrating the same spirit of volunteerism and citizenship that characterized King Jr.’s life.

Other awards to be presented are the MLK Drum Major Service Award, recognizing an individual who has demonstrated service and leadership in promoting human dignity and achieving racial equality and harmony among the Oshkosh campus and community; and African American Student Leadership Award, given to a full-time African American undergraduate student of junior status who demonstrates leadership in campus activities that benefit African American students and the campus community.

The MLK event also will feature a 2018 Black Heritage Stamp tribute and the naming of the Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest winners from local schools.

Adams said the community celebration recognizes all the sacrifices that have been made by different individuals and groups to make sure that future generations have better opportunities.

“Dr. King gave his life so that you and I would have a better world to live in,” Adams said. “Having this annual commemoration is not only a remembrance, but also a celebration of the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

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