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Martin Luther King Jr. Week Keynote Address by Tamika D. Mallory

January 24, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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NOTE – UNC Asheville’s Clear Bag Policy will be in effect at Lipinsky Auditorium for the MLK Week Keynote Address on Jan. 24. Please leave backpacks at home or check them at the door. Details and description of the keynote event follow below.

*Martin Luther King Jr. 2019 Week of Activities: University Update*

On behalf of the UNC Asheville Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, and the UNC Asheville Senior Staff, and in consultation with the UNC Asheville Faculty Senate Executive Committee, we write to offer this reminder about the university’s values and our commitment to free speech and open dialogue as we prepare for the Martin Luther King Jr. week of activities (Jan. 19-25, 2019).

The Constitutional and democratic principles of freedom of thought and expression are central to our mission as a university, especially during the day honoring the legacy and enduring values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As has been our custom, the university’s invitation to an individual speaker at a university event in no way implies endorsement of that speaker’s comments, critiques, views, ideas, or actions. Further, the university’s fundamental principles reject bias in all of its forms including anti-Semitism and discrimination.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked with diverse and sometimes opposing groups to overcome intolerance and to engage in the difficult yet vital work of the civil rights movement. He allowed a plurality of voices to be heard and encouraged meaningful conversations with respect and reason. His legacy continues today, across the country and across differing groups, all working for social justice and advancing his message of tolerance and non-violence.

At their best, universities are places where thoughtful discussions and respectful disagreements can take place. Students, faculty, staff, and the community benefit from conversations, lectures, and roundtables that strengthen our ability to think critically and to judge independently. Our Martin Luther King Jr. week of activities is designed to provide, in addition to the keynote address, educational opportunities to enlighten through critical thinking, open dialogue, and thoughtful discourse. Efforts are currently underway to create opportunities for our campus and the Asheville community to engage in dialogue around the keynote address, as well as many topics emerging from the activities planned for the week.

The core of our UNC Asheville academic mission is clear and thoughtful expression, free and open inquiry, critical thinking, undergraduate research, and community engagement. We encourage our academic community to see the common humanity in us all, despite our differences, and to uphold the knowledge that respect for human dignity will advance our democratic principles.

Nancy J. Cable, Ph.D.             Karin Peterson, Ph.D.

Chancellor                              Interim Provost

*Martin Luther King Jr. 2019 Week of Activities: University Update 2*

We write to update you on the complete list of Martin Luther King Jr. Week activities, and give you an idea of what is in the planning stages for related special events beyond the next week.

As is the case every year, our keynote lecture – this year by Tamika D. Mallory, co-president of the Women’s March – will be accompanied by smaller-group discussions and events for our students. This year, Professor Richard Chess, director of UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies, has also worked with us to arrange a special private meeting between Ms. Mallory and many leaders of Asheville’s Jewish community. Facilitating that discussion and the events on campus is the kind of work that is central to the university’s mission, and honors the enduring values expressed and embodied by Dr. King.

Below is a summary of the week’s events, with thanks to the work of the UNC Asheville Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, UNC Asheville’s Senior Staff and Student Affairs staff, and in consultation with the UNC Asheville Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

Jan. 19, Saturday –

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Asheville & Buncombe County Prayer Breakfast – UNC Asheville is one of the sponsors of this important annual community event and Chancellor Cable will represent the university on the dais. The university and the association also partner on a scholarship program providing tuition assistance to students nominated by the association.

Jan. 21, Monday –

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – As you know, in honor of the King holiday, no classes will be held and the university has organized volunteer opportunities in partnership with United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County and Mission Health. Please consider volunteering your time at numerous local organization through our community partnerships. To get involved, sign up online here. Service work will take place during the morning, leaving you time to participate in the annual Peace March downtown at noon.

Jan. 22, Tuesday –

  • Mindful Discourse: Civility, Engaged Listening, and Sourcing Information – This interactive discussion session, open only to UNC Asheville students, will be led by Kate Johnson of UNC Asheville’s Key Center for Community Engaged Learning and Megan Pugh of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Noon-1 p.m., Highsmith Student Union Mountain Suites.

Jan. 23, Wednesday –

  • Intersectional Movement Building: Challenges and Possibilities – This discussion session, open only to UNC Asheville students, will be led by faculty members Dr. Lyndi Hewitt, Dr. Sarah Judson and Dr. Tiece Ruffin. 2-3:15 p.m., Highsmith Student Union Mountain Suites.

Jan. 24, Thursday –

  • Multidimensional Leadership in Non-Violent Social Movements – This master class is for UNC Asheville students only, and will consist of a talk by Mallory followed by Q&A. 5-6 p.m., Highsmith Student Union Mountain Suites.
  • Keynote Lecture by Tamika D. Mallory – Mallory, national co-president of the Women’s March, will deliver an address and then respond to audience questions. For more information on Mallory, see the news releaseFree and open to everyone, 7 p.m., Lipinsky Auditorium, with doors opening at 6 p.m. and first-come, first-served seating. Overflow live-streaming will be offered in Highsmith Student Union in the Grotto.

Jan. 25, Friday –

  • Truth, Healing and Reconciliation – This dialogue session will feature small-group discussions for UNC Asheville students, faculty and staff. Noon-1 p.m., Highsmith Student Union Mountain Suites.

Storytelling Booths – UNC Asheville students, faculty and staff are all invited to share stories of working with others across lines of personal and ideological difference. Stories will be collected as a university resource. Booth locations and hours: Ramsey Library: Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Thursday, noon-4 p.m.; and Friday, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Highsmith Student Union room 126: Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

More upcoming events – In response to the community conversation about Mallory’s appearance on campus, UNC Asheville is scheduling additional public talks during the spring 2019 semester featuring nationally known thought leaders, discussing anti-Semitism, Jewish and African-American community relations, race and interfaith dialogue, and more. Events will be announced when scheduling is finalized.

–Jill Moffit, Ed.D

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Title IX Administrator

Tamika D. Mallory, co-president of the Women’s March, will deliver the keynote address for UNC Asheville’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week. The keynote talk is the highlight of a week focusing on King’s moral legacy, including a day of community service, and activities and workshops for students on contemporary issues and civil rights history.

Mallory’s talk is free and open to everyone, with no tickets required, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2018, in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and seating is first-come, first-served.

The first Women’s March in January 2017 drew an estimated 5 million participants worldwide, with 500,000 people marching in Washington D.C. and an estimated 7,000-10,000 in downtown Asheville. The Women’s March is planning more marches on the weekend of Jan. 19, 2019, and Mallory’s role as the national organization’s co-president continues.

Mallory describes her approach this way: “My fellow Women’s March leaders believe that we can be the bridge to connect different groups in the name of our shared liberation. We don’t just step into difficult spaces, we create new ones. I am guided by the loving principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., though I have fallen short of them at times. And it is with the belief that ‘non-violence seeks to win friendship and understanding’ and ‘non-violence seeks to defeat injustice, not people’ that we organized a march on January 21, 2017, that 5 million people participated in worldwide; and we have been guided by those values the whole way through.”

Mallory is a leader in community-based efforts to stop gun violence in her native New York City, and was instrumental in creating the NYC Crisis Management System, an official gun anti-violence prevention program that she co-chaired. She also worked closely with the Obama Administration on gun control policy. She has been personally touched by gun violence – the father of her son was murdered in 2001.

In prior roles, Mallory served as a national organizer for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington in 2013, which drew 300,000 people, and the 2015 event, Justice or Else!, also in Washington D.C., where she spoke to an audience of 700,000.

Mallory’s activism began at the age of 11, when she joined Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN), of which her parents were founding members. She went on to become the group’s youngest executive director, and although she is still an active NAN supporter, she left her staff position in 2013. In addition to her work with the Women’s March, she founded Mallory Consulting, a strategic planning firm in New York City.

For more information, contact UNC’s Asheville Events & Conferences Office at 828.251.6853.



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January 24, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm