Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium at Tufts on January 22

“The Fierce Urgency of Now” university event will feature performance and talks, with keynote by Emery Wright, A99

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Tufts University will mark the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., with a wide-ranging symposium on civil rights on Monday, January 22.

After a performance by the Tufts Black Theater Troupe, Kerri Greenidge, a history department lecturer and co-director of the African American Freedom Trail Project in the Consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora, will provide historical context of King’s life and works.

Three Boston-based organizers and activists will then discuss how the current political climate is shaping their work at the local and national levels. The participants are Chris Cato, the green initiative project manager at YouthBuild USA, which helps low-income young people learn construction skills to help them build affordable housing, community centers, and schools; Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, executive director of MassVOTE, which promotes active political participation by providing civic organizations the tools they need to organize, register, and educate voters; and Lydia Edwards, the recently elected Boston City Councilor for District 1, serving Charlestown, East Boston, and the North End.

The symposium concludes with a community dinner and a keynote lecture by Emery Wright, A99, “intended to inspire ongoing action for civil rights in our time,” said the organizers. Wright is co-director of Project South, which was founded in 1986 as the Institute to Eliminate Poverty and Genocide. He has two decades of experience in community organizing, movement building, and political education, working primarily across the U.S. South. Prior to working at Project South, he co-founded and directed a black youth organization called the Nia Project, which organized in Boston, coastal South Carolina, and Atlanta. He co-founded and co-facilitated a weekly Black Studies course at South Bay Prison, and he has developed learning and leadership exchanges between grassroots organizers in the U.S., the greater Caribbean, and East Africa.

The event, which will be held from 3 to 7:30 p.m. in Breed Memorial Hall, 51 Winthrop Street, Medford, is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, the Toupin-Bolwell Fund, the Africana Center, the Center for the Humanities at Tufts, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, the Tisch College of Civic Life, and the University Chaplaincy.

For more information, and specific timing, go to the event website. A live stream of the symposium will be available on the day here:

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