2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Call to Action: The Fierce Urgency of Now

Each year, Fairfield University hosts a series of events celebrating the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The MLK, Jr. Convocation is an integral part of its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance, which features a series of campus-wide events designed to invigorate the spirit and inspire all to continue on with the important work reflected in the words, writings, and actions of Dr. King.

Schedule of Events 

Rally for Justice

Tuesday, January 23, 4:30 p.m.
Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola


Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner

Wednesday, January 24, 5 p.m.
Barone Campus Center, Oak Room

Presentations of this year’s Vision Awards to three members of the University community will be made at the Convocation. Winners of the essay contest for middle-schoolers will also be recognized. (The contest is co-sponsored by the Connecticut Post.)


The Fierce Urgency of Now: MLK's Vision for the 21st Century

Yohuru Williams, PhD
Wednesday, January 24, 7 p.m.
Barone Campus Center, Dogwoods

Dr. Yohuru Williams, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University will speak. An expert on African American History, Twentieth Century United States History and Social Studies pedagogy, Dr. Williams is the author and editor of several books including Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven (Blackwell, 2006), Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement (Routledge, 2015) and Teaching beyond the Textbook: Six Investigative Strategies (Corwin Press, 2008). He recently co-edited the book The Black Panthers: Portraits of an Unfinished Revolution (Nation Books, 2016) that has received critical acclaim from The New York Times and The Washington Post. He has also appeared as a media expert on many local and national programs including Al Jazeera America, Ebru TV, Fox Business, C-SPAN and NPR, to name a few.


Day of Service: Read A Loud Day at Bryant School

Thursday, January 25


Youth Leadership Academy

Friday, January 26, 9:30 a.m. 
Barone Campus Center, Oak Room


Marshall Film Screening

Friday, January 26, 10 p.m.
Gonzaga Auditorium


Day of Service: Thomas Merton Center Food Pantry

Saturday, January 27, All Day
Thomas Merton Center Food Pantry


Gospel Mass

Sunday, January 28, 7 p.m.
Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola


CARE Team Dialogue: “The Modern Day Civil Rights Movement

Monday, January 29, 7 p.m.
Barone Campus Center 200


Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation

Open VISIONS Forum
Freedom: Seeking Justice in America
An Evening with Dr. Angela Davis

Thursday, February 1, 8 p.m.
Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
Dr. Angela Davis

As one of the most iconic faces of black politics and social activism beginning in the 1960s, she gained international recognition in combating all forms of oppression. Her work as an educator, author, human rights activist, and public intellectual articulates a vision of building communities for economic, racial, and gender equality. She has worked tirelessly creating alliances across racial lines and confronting institutional injustices of the “prison industrial complex.” She will share with us her journey after being placed on the FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted List’ for a crime she did not commit connected to the Soledad Prison Three. After serving 18 months in jail and on trial, she conducted extensive research on the interplay of race, gender, and imprisonment. Her testimony will inspire our University community towards making our nation and world more aware of the long struggle—past, present, and future—ensuring that freedom results in democratic institutions founded on social justice.

$35 | $5 Fairfield University Students. QCA Member Price: $27. Purchase tickets at quickcenter.fairfield.edu.

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:

Carrie Robinson

Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
(203) 254-4000 ext. 3165


Rachelle Brunn-Bevel

Assistant Professor of Sociology & Anthropology
(203) 254-4000, ext. 2813