Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations 2024

Dreaming and Doing: Transforming Education

Our Annual Convocation

Our Annual Convocation will take place on February 6, 2024 with the theme this year being on Dreaming and Doing: Transforming Education.

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A Look Back

The 2023 theme of Fairfield University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations – “Social Justice Now” – invoked this idea of the “now” and invited us to consider what it means today.

Dreaming and Doing:
Transforming Education

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.

"The function of education,” Dr. King wrote in an op-ed as a student at Morehouse College in 1947, “is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” But, he cautioned, an education which emphasizes efficiency and reason alone “may prove the greatest menace to society.” It is for this reason that “a complete education” should strive for “intelligence plus character.”

Education “gives one not only the power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate."

Education for All

The theme of this year’s MLK Celebrations – Dreaming and Doing: Transforming Education – is an invitation to think intensively and critically about questions of social justice and education. We are looking forward to welcoming Dr. Bettina Love, who will give the Convocation Address on Tuesday February 6 at the Quick Center.

Dr. Love’s address – Punished For Dreaming: The Case for Abolitionist Teacher & Educational Reparations – will tell a story of generational educational harm and offer a road map for transforming education for all children.

2024 Convocation Speaker

Dr. Bettina Love's headshot

Dr. Bettina Love

Bettina L. Love, PhD is the William F. Russell Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and author of the New York Times bestseller Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal. In 2022, the Kennedy Center named Dr. Love one of the Next 50 Leaders making the world more inspired, inclusive, and compassionate. A co-founder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN), whose mission is to develop and support teachers and parents fighting injustice within their schools and communities, she has overseen over $250,000 in grants to abolitionists around the country. She is also a founding member of the Task Force that launched the program In Her Hands, one of the largest guaranteed income pilot programs in the U.S., which has distributed more than $15 million to Black women living in Georgia.

More About Dr. Bettina Love

2024 Award Winners

Rose Rodrigues, PhD
Assistant Professor Sociology and Anthropology
Watch the Faculty Award Video

Rony Delva
Project Director Upward Bound
Watch the Staff Award Video

Habibul Huq ’24
Watch the Student Award Video

Vanessa Liles
Co-Project Director, PT Partners
Watch the Community Award Video

Schedule of Events

MLK Teach-In
Monday, February 5
11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Barone Campus Center, Lower Level

Martin Luther King Convocation
Tuesday, February 6
5:30 p.m.
Quick Center for the Arts

Martin Luther King Jr. Workshop: Respect the Process: Examining Our Social Justice Perspectives
Tuesday, February 6
Dolan Event Hall

For Students, 3 - 4 p.m.

For Faculty/Staff, 4:15 - 5:15 p.m.

Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Awards Reception
Wednesday, February 7
5 - 7 p.m.
Downtown Bookstore Event Space

Celebration of Activism
Thursday, February 8
BCC 200

9:30-10:30 A.M. - Nuclear Families
11-12 Noon - Men’s Mental Health
12-1 P.M. - Reception
1-2 PM - Affirmative Action in the Workplace
2-3 P.M. - Prison Systems
3-4 P.M. - Beach Pollution
5-6 P.M. - Immigration
6-7 P.M. - LGBTQ
7-8 P.M. - Observing Burn Out
8-9 P.M. - Art & Identity

Youth Leadership Academy
Friday, February 9
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Barone Campus Center Oak room

Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Award

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee honors the legacy of Dr. King’s untiring commitment to racial justice, locating his lifelong efforts squarely within the Jesuit mission of our university.

Recognize Individuals

As a campus-wide group, we organize a series of events including a Convocation in recognition of the national MLK holiday. In furthering Dr. King’s legacy, we promote the struggle for racial justice as necessarily grounded in peace, love, nonviolence, and a recognition of human dignity. We align our mission with that of the University to encourage our community to develop and commit to a sense of social responsibility.

The Martin Luther King, Jr Celebration Committee will recognize individuals (faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students) whose record of personal and institutional achievement in areas of leadership and service reflect a strong commitment to advancing the ideals and values of Martin Luther King through courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility, and service.

Nomination Form

Mahfouz Soumare '22

Nat Bush, MSW '22

Sonya Huber, PhD

Nakia Letang

Kenneth Smith

Student: Aliyah Seenauth ’24
Staff: Julia Duffy, APRN, FNP-BC
Faculty: Alfred Babo, PhD
Commnity: Callie Gale Heilmann and Gemeem Davis

Student: Mahfouz Soumare '22 and Nat Bush, MSW '22
Staff: Nakia Letang
Faculty: Sonya Huber, PhD

Student: Nya Jones ‘23
Staff: Andrea Canuel
Faculty: Janie Leatherman, PhD

Student: Luckario Alcide ‘21
Staff: Julie Bararo Mughal
Faculty: Silvia Marsans-Sakly, PhD

Student: Sydney Williams ‘19
Staff: Sharon Daly
Faculty: Maggie Ann Labinski, PhD

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
Faculty: Meredith Marquez
Staff: Dr. Danke Li

Student: Sarah L. Gatti '10
Community: Roberto Sanchez
Staff: 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

2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration: Essay Contest - Jaedyn Pinkney

At Home and Abroad: A Roundtable Conversation with Robin D.G. Kelley

Celebration of Activism

2021 MLK Vision Award - Andrea Canuel

2021 MLK Vision Award - Dr. Janie Leatherman

2021 MLK Vision Award - Nya Jones