2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Fighting for Racial Justice: Renewing the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee honors the legacy of Dr. King’s untiring commitment to racial justice by striving to create a peaceful campus environment through the promotion of informed dialogue, engaging events, and Jesuit values. The committee’s purpose is the following: 1) To situate Dr. King’s commitment to racial justice with the Jesuit mission of Fairfield University 2) To organize an annual convocation, among other related events, which unites the campus community in an important discourse regarding racial justice as well as inclusive excellence 3) To provide learning opportunities for intellectual engagement with Dr. King’s legacy and lastly, 4) To promote the struggle for racial justice as one grounded in peace, love, nonviolence, and recognition of all human dignity.

We endeavor to engage actively the University community in the spirit of racial justice as social justice on and off campus.

2019 Convocation Speaker

Ibram X. Kendi

IBRAM X. KENDI, an award-winning historian and New York Times best-selling author, is professor of history and international relations and the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is also an ideas columnist for The Atlantic.

His book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. At 34 years old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction. He is also the author of the award-winning book on Black student activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, The Black Campus Movement. It was published in March 2012 as part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Contemporary Black History Series.

Kendi has published fourteen essays in books and academic journals, including The Journal of African American History, Journal of Social History, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of African American Studies, and The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture.

Kendi has been visiting professor at Brown University, a 2013 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, and postdoctoral fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis. He has also resided at The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress as the American Historical Association’s 2010-2011 J. Franklin Jameson Fellow in American History. In the summer of 2011, he lived in Chicago as a short-term fellow in African American Studies through the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. He has received research fellowships, grants, and visiting appointments from a variety of other universities, foundations, professional associations, and libraries, including the Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum, University of Chicago, Wayne State University, Emory University, Duke University, Princeton University, UCLA, Washington University, Wake Forest University, and the historical societies of Kentucky and Southern California.

A frequent speaker and contributor of op-eds, Kendi has written for several periodicals including Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, The Root, Salon, The New York Times, New York Daily News, Time, Signature, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is currently working on his next book, How to be an Antiracist, which will be published in 2019 by One World, a division of Penguin Random House.

Schedule of Events 

Gospel Mass

Sunday, January 27
7 p.m.
Egan Chapel


From Then to Now: A Celebration of Activism at Fairfield University

Monday, January 28
4:30 p.m.
Dogwood Lobby and Room, Barone Campus Center


Vision Awards Dinner

Wednesday, January 30
5 p.m.
Barone Campus Center Oak Room


Convocation featuring Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

"Fighting for Racial Justice: Renewing the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr."
Wednesday, January 30
8 p.m.
Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


MLK Youth Academy

Friday, February 1 (Snow Date February 8)


Shut Up & Play?
Activism, Race, and Sports Panel Discussion

Wednesday, February 6
8 p.m.
Barone Campus Center Oak Room


Various Days: Service Projects contact Kathleen A. Byrnes (kbyrnes@fairfield.edu) for more information.

Ripple Of Hope Scholarship

This scholarship will be awarded, as part of the University’s MLK Holiday Observance, in the amount of $1,000. It will be offered to one current Fairfield University undergraduate student who exhibits the moral courage and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. within the Fairfield community, embodies fervor for social justice, and maintains a spirit of hope and dignity vital for those who seek to change the world.

Vision Award Winners


Student: Sophia Bolanos '18
Faculty: Dr. Kris Sealey


Student: Anmol Tabassum '18
Faculty: Dr. Paul Lakeland
Staff: Dr. Ophelie Rowe-Allen



Student: Michael Joe Harding '18
Faculty: Dr. Bryan Ripley Crandall
Staff: Sydney Johnson



Student: Nicole Davidow '15
Faculty: Dr. Jocelyn Boryczka
Staff: Will Johnson



Student: Eric Salgado ’14
Faculty: Dr. Yohuru Williams
Staff: Jocelyn Collen '06



Student: Sharon Pedassa '13
Faculty: Dr. David Brown
Staff: Wylie Blake



Student: Jasmine Fernandez '12
Faculty: Dr. Deb Chappell
Staff: Melissa Quan



Student: Shawne Lomauro '11
Staff: Meredith Marquez
Faculty: Dr. Danke Li



Student: Sarah L. Gatti '10
Community: Roberto Sanchez
Faculty: Dr. Johana Garvey



Student: Michael Cicirelli '10
Staff: Jim Fitzpatrick
Community: Denise Taylor
Faculty: Dr. Ellen Umansky



Student: Peter Otoki ‘08
Student: Frank Fraioli ‘08
Faculty: Dr. Michael Tucker
Community: James Smith
Special: Sr Julianna Poole, SSND, PhD



Student: Ashley Toombs '07
Community: Charles B Tisdale
Staff: Barbara Kiernan 
Alumni: Danielle K. Hawthorne '91



Faculty: Dr. Winston Tellis
Alumni: Paula Donovan '77 '88
Community: Dr. & Mrs. Barone
Student: Chrystie Cruz '07



Community: Dr. Elizabeth Gardner
Community: Rev. Paul Merry
Alumni: Ellen Morgan esq '86
Student: Oriena Cowan '05
Student: Katherine Canner-O'Mealy '05



Faculty: Dr. Judy Primavera
Community: George Bellinger
Alumni: Dr. Robert Smith Jr. '74
Student: Francesca Cobb '04
Student: Burim Gjidija '05



University: Dr. Walter Petry
Community: Stanley Arrington



University: Andre Willis
Alumni: Richard Fuller Sr. '77
Community: Rev. John S. Kidd
Community: Rev. Phyllis J Leopold



Faculty: Dr. Elizabeth Hohl
Alumni: Edward Brennan '65
Alumni: Kathy Niznansky M'81
Alumni: Felipe Reinoso M'88

Contact Us

For more information, contact:

Ophelie Rowe-Allen, EdD

Associate Dean and Director Residence Life & Diversity
(203) 254-4000 ext. 4215


Rachelle Brunn-Bevel

Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
(203) 254-4000, ext. 2813