WCU to honor Martin Luther King

Due to inclement weather, changes have been made to tonight’s (Jan. 18) schedule:

  • The keynote address event by guest speaker Tonya Williams has been canceled.
  • The WCU Unity March at the Alumni Tower has been rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. However, if inclement weather continues, the march will be canceled.
  • The Candlelight Vigil and performance by the WCU Inspirational Choir will begin at 7 p.m.
  • The Harlem Gospel Choir performance will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Harlem Gospel Choir will perform at WCU's Fine and Performing Arts Center Jan. 18.

The Harlem Gospel Choir will perform at WCU’s Fine and Performing Arts Center Jan. 18.

Tonya Williams, general counsel for N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, will deliver the keynote address Thursday, Jan. 18, as Western Carolina University holds special events to honor the memory of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Williams will speak on King’s life as part of a program sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor. The program, to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Fine and Performing Arts Center, is open to the public and free of charge. The event is preceded by a Unity March and followed with a Harlem Gospel Choir performance.

A native of Greenville, Williams graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She received her law degree from the UNC School of Law in 1999. She also has worked as a judicial clerk for Judge Loretta C. Biggs of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

“Build the Dream” wristbands will be sold for $3 on the second floor of the University Center throughout the week with proceeds benefiting the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project.

Other events organized as part of Western’s “Social Justice in the 21st Century: What Would Dr. King Say Now?” include a freedom ride to Atlanta, unity marches, a candlelight vigil, a poetry slam, community service, dance and dramatic productions, and a panel discussion.

  • 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14 — Town of Sylva unity march and candlelight vigil will begin in the parking lot of Mill & Main restaurant. Guest speaker is the Rev. Charles Lee from Liberty Baptist Church.
  • 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14— A spoken word and poetry slam centered on reflections of the life and legacy of King will be held at the University Center.
  • 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15 — Town of Sylva prayer breakfast features former Western professor Alfred Wiggins as guest speaker.  Breakfast costs $6.
  • 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15 — “A Day On, Not a Day Off” invites volunteers to participate in community service projects including creating a mural for REACH of Macon County. Reception for participants begins at 4 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the University Center.
  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16 — WCU students from dance, theatre and visual arts perform in Room 130 of the Fine and Performing Arts Center. Winners of youth art and essay contests are presented.
  • 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17 — A panel discussion titled “Social Justice and You” will take place at the University Center Theater.
  • 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18 — WCU Unity March meets at the Alumni Tower. (rescheduled start time)
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18 — Candlelight Vigil and performance by the WCU Inspirational Choir
  • 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18 — The Harlem Gospel Choir, which grew out of an idea that struck Allen Bailey during a celebration in honor of King at the Cotton Club in Harlem, takes the stage as part of the Lectures, Concerts and Exhibitions Series. (rescheduled start time)

For more information, contact the Multicultural Center at (828) 227-2276. Western will be closed Monday, Jan. 15, in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.