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MLK Week Virtual Kick-Off

January 18, 2021 @ 2:30 pm 3:30 pm MST

For the health and safety of our community, we have decided to make the MLK Week Car Rally a virtual event. Please join us at 2:30 p.m. at for messages from University of Utah and community leaders.

Following the event, a recording of the live stream can be found on YouTube and the podcast audio can be found at

In addition to joining our kick-off, we encourage everyone to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by volunteering your time for a self-directed or virtual MLK Week service project organized by the Bennion Center.

Good Trouble

“Let [historians] say it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war…walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.” – John Lewis

Today we launch our MLK Week on a virtual platform, a podcast that includes many leaders from our communities. I invite you to listen and share with friends and colleagues. We owe a great deal of thanks to the MLK Week Committee for their thoughtful work, as they put together events that bring us together in conversation focused on learning, healing, and action on our campus and community. You’ll find a listing of this year’s events here, with many ways to stimulate our minds and our hearts and take action.

This year, it’s all about Good Trouble, “necessary trouble,” in the words of Congressman John Robert Lewis.  As you engage with these events, think about your own plan for “Good Trouble.” What do you want it to be, how is it defined, what is the outcome? Who are the people you want to gather with to help accomplish this? Who are the unlikely people you want to bring along?

I am hopeful that the programming inspires new ideas of good trouble, helps calm and heal our hearts, and sparks that vision of working together in this time of needed change. Change asks us to not only think differently, but to dream and act upon what we want. This is true not only at the U, but across our country. We know that some people respond to change with great excitement, they see a path and have a plan. Others are more cautious, uncertain, and hold back. But if we look to one another, even to those who are not ready to embrace it, we can support each other and realize great action and progress together.  

As you listen and participate week, let the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the words of John Robert Lewis ring in our ears – “Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”His words and those of Dr. King have been a clarion call for decades – and now for the students at the U. Change is upon us, how do you want to accelerate it and make this campus, this city, this state, this world more equitable? Realize our goal of being an anti-racist campus?

We need you and we need each other if we are to uproot white supremacy so that can create an inclusive campus where all thrive, where all see themselves in the fabric of our community.    John Robert Lewis spent more than 50 years on this road – and although I hope it doesn’t take us another 50 years to realize our goals, I acknowledge we must all walk together, shoulder to shoulder, to help “redeem the soul of our nation.”

So, as you listen, engage and absorb the beauty of dance and the words of others this week, I encourage each of us to push ourselves, listen like never before, think about our own march and what that looks like, who you want to join, and find that equanimity and goodness that lies in all of us. Put that “good trouble, necessary trouble” into action – as we all work together to make the U an anti-racist campus and realize the dreams and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Robert Lewis, are a part of each of us.

In partnership –

Mary Ann Villarreal
Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Get Some Car Swag

Starting January 19, swag items that would have been distributed at the car rally (such as car magnets, car flags, and health care packages) can be picked up from the Spencer Fox Eccles Business BuildingS.J. Quinney College of Law, and A. Ray Olpin Student Union front desk while supplies last. Please maintain health precautions when visiting these pick-up locations. We encourage everyone to show off their swag throughout the week!

U of U Swag Contest

Win a swag bag prize (including Sundance Resort ski tickets and U of U wearables/goodies) from the University of Utah! Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for prize details. To enter, take a photo of yourself with the MLK Week car swag, tag @uofuedi on Facebook or Twitter, and use the hashtag #UofUMLKswag!

At the University of Utah, we celebrate the educational access and opportunities that Dr. King’s legacy has provided in the United States. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Week (MLK Week) has become a platform to engage students, faculty, staff and community members in critical conversations around contemporary Civil Rights issues and race in America.

This year’s theme is “Good Trouble,” a term often associated with former United States Representative John Lewis.


Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

David Eccles School of Business

MLK Week Planning Committee

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