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Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is Keynote Speaker for FIU’s 19th Annual Breakfast to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy

MIAMI – Florida International University’s Office of Multicultural Programs and Services will once again be commemorating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a weeklong celebration inspired by Dr. King’s life and work. This year’s theme is “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Dream.” The MLK Commemorative Celebration is one of the largest annual FIU events on campus, with more than 3,000 people participating over the five-day celebration.

One of the highlights will be the traditional MLK commemorative breakfast which will be held from 8 – 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 15, at the Graham University Center Ballroom at FIU-Modesto Maidique Campus, 11200 SW 8th St.

The breakfast’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Michael Eric Dyson – who is an American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner – one of the nation’s most influential and renowned public intellectuals. He has been named one of the 150 most powerful African Americans by Ebony magazine. Master of Ceremonies for the Breakfast will be Miami attorney Marlon A. Hill.

Dr. Micahel Eric Dyson

Dr. Dyson’s pioneering scholarship has had a profound effect on American ideas. His first book, 1993’s Reflecting Black: African American Cultural Criticism, helped establish the field of black American cultural studies. Dr. Dyson’s first book on Martin Luther King, 2000’s I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr., made a significant contribution to King scholarship by recovering the radical legacy of the slain civil rights leader. Dr. Dyson will be addressing this year’s theme, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Dream” in his keynote.

Not only has Dr. Dyson taught at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities – including Brown, Chapel Hill, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania – but his influence has carried far beyond the academy into prisons and bookstores, political conventions and union halls, and church sanctuaries and lecture stages across the world. Currently, he is a Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. Dr. Dyson’s books will be available for purchase and he will be signing books after the breakfast.

More than 500 guests are expected at the breakfast. Proceeds from the event go towards the MLK Essay Awards. This year, FIU Freshmen will have the opportunity to submit an essay with Dr. King serving as the inspiration, and compete for three prizes. The students will be asked to write on this year’s theme. The first place winner receives a $2,000 tuition scholarship. The second place winner receives $1000.00 towards tuition and third place, a $500 scholarship at FIU.

Tickets to the breakfast will be $40. For more information, call Barbara Douglas at 305-348-2436.

The weeklong celebration begins on Wednesday, Jan. 13, when the FIU Counseling Center will host a movie, What’s Race Got to Do with It?, followed by a discussion from 7-10:30 p.m. at the Graham Center, Room 140. The movie chronicles the journey of a diverse group of students participating in a 15-week intergroup dialogue program at U.C. Berkeley. The film goes beyond identity politics, celebratory history and guilt trips to help viewers “see through” achievement myths and create a safe space for open, honest exchange, particularly within educational environments. The event is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, Jan. 16, volunteers, including FIU students, will gather for a day of service. The MLK Day of Service will have about 150 student volunteers, working at the Yvonne Learning Center (YLC) in Little Haiti. FIU students will be partnering up with students from the YLC in a beautification project.

On Monday, Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, FIU will join the Miami community in the MLK Parade organized by The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Festivities Committee and held in Liberty City. This is FIU’s 14th year participating in the parade.

FIU students will attend the MLK Dinner in the Graham University Center, Room 243, on Tuesday, Jan.19, and sponsored by Residential Life and Student Organizations. Assistant U.S. District Attorney, Karlyn Hylton, will be the speaker.

The celebration concludes on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., when the Biscayne Bay Campus will host the MLK Youth Forum and Peace Walk at the Wolfe University Center Ballroom located at 3000 NE 151 Street in North Miami. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Pedro Jose “Joe” Greer, chair of the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s Department of Humanities, Health & Society and recipient of this nation’s highest civilian honor – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – which he received in a ceremony at the White House on August 12, 2009.

A Cuban born in the United States by chance, Dr. Pedro Jose Greer, Jr. had a vision that changed his life and the lives of thousands of Miami’s residents. Initially, Dr. Greer only had a broad vision to “save the world” that was driven by passion without any specific direction until, in 1984, he encountered a homeless man suffering from tuberculosis. Though there was little he could do to medically help the homeless man, it turned out to be providential when it led him to Camillus House, a shelter for the homeless. He knew a clinic to treat the poor and homeless populations of Miami was needed and soon opened up Camillus Health Concern (CHC), as it is now known, to persuade the poor and homeless to come in for treatment. Through his leadership and vision, he has proven that one person can inspire and create change in his community.

Several Miami Dade County Public Schools will be attending the event and students will hear Dr. Greer share his story as well as inspire them to make a difference.

The MLK Organizing Committee gratefully acknowledges the following Corporate Sponsors: GEICO, Baptist Health South, Florida University Credit Union, and ARAMARK for their financial support of the MLK Commemorative Celebration. The organizers also recognize the support and collaboration of the following University Sponsors; Student Government Association- BBC and MMC, Graham University Center, Wolfe University Center, Housing and Residential Life, and the Center for Leadership and Service

For more event or ticket information, contact the Office of Multicultural Programs at 305-348-2436.

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