U-M’s annual MLK Symposium to feature two keynote speakers Monday

Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the University of Michigan's Hill Auditorium on November 5, 1962. (Photo courtesy: U-M Bentley Historical Library)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan will be holding its annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium on Monday morning and this year, the Keynote Memorial Lecture will be delivered by two speakers.

The 1.5 hour event has moved to a virtual format and will begin at 10 a.m.

This year’s speakers are Gloria House and Malik Kenyatta Yakini.

Dr. Gloria House. (Gloria House)

House is a poet, human rights activist, essayist and educator. She holds both a bachelor’s degree in French and a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Later, she earned her doctorate in American Cultural History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Dr. House designed and founded the African American Studies major at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a program for which she served as director until her retirement in 2014. Also an award-winning author, Dr. House lives in Detroit where she is an organizer in the Coalition for Police Transparency and Accountability, the Black Legacy Coalition and the Detroit Independent Freedom Schools Movement.

Malik Yakini, founder and executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (Photo: Joi Ito)

Yakini is the co-founder and executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. The organization manages a seven-acre urban farm in the city and is currently working to open the Detroit People’s Food Co-op.

Yakini is focused on fostering self-determination, power and justice through his organization’s work, and is a firm opponent of capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy.

No stranger to the University of Michigan community, he has been actively involved in the school’s sustainable food program, teaching courses for students and the broader Ann Arbor community. Yakini is also a co-founder of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance.

Watch the livestream of the event here or via the video below.

The event is sponsored by the University of Michigan Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium; the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, a unit in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business with support from the William K. McInally Memorial Lecture Fund.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.