Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., and leader for African-American equality Coretta Scott King, will deliver Bryant University's annual MLK Legacy Keynote on February 25 at 7 p.m.
The presentation, open to the public via Zoom, is part of a series of campus performances, lectures and dialogues scheduled in honor of Black History Month. Preregistration is required; you can register here.
Dr. King is a global thought leader, orator and peace advocate. As the CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), she continues her efforts to advance her parents’ legacy of Kingian Nonviolence, which she rebranded as Nonviolence365™, and to educate youth and adults about the nonviolent principles they modeled. Through her work for the center, she has engaged students, educators, law enforcement, civic leaders, activists, gang members, church leaders and business leaders in dialogue and training.
“We are honored for Dr. Bernice King to lead us in a keynote honoring the legacy of her father, Martin Luther King, Jr., in celebration of Black History Month at Bryant.”
Dr. King is known as a powerful speaker, and has addressed audiences around the world. She is a graduate of Spelman College (Bachelor of Arts in Psychology) and of Emory University (Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Law). She also received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Wesley College.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are integral to the educational mission of Bryant University and to a meaningful student life experience. We are honored for Dr. Bernice King to lead us in a keynote honoring the legacy of her father, Martin Luther King, Jr., in celebration of Black History Month at Bryant,” said Dr. Inge-Lise Ameer, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “The month of February presents a special opportunity to reflect upon the achievements and recognize the central role of Black people in our nation’s history, and we are excited to provide this opportunity for our students to do so with Dr. King.”
“This was an incredible opportunity for us students to make our own impact and choose who we want to learn from.”
Students plan events with impact
Student organizations across campus, including the Multicultural Student Union (MSU), the Student Programming Board, WOKE Athletes, and the Student Government, played an important role in planning the MLK Legacy Speaker event as well as other programming for Black History Month. Louise Barro '23 and Nika Nguyen '21, who participated in planning the event featuring Dr. King, appreciated the opportunity to work with peers and bring the community builder to campus via a virtual address.
“I hope to learn more about Dr. King's life and accomplishments as well as gain insights from her many experiences. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Barro, who is Director of Black Enterprise for the MSU, participated in the speaker selection process. “This was an incredible opportunity for us students to make our own impact and choose who we want to learn from. […] It was also an enriching experience, as we got to collaborate with other organizations" that have students from a variety of backgrounds.
Nguyen, Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion committee of the Student Government, echoed Barro. “We wanted to partner with more student organizations, and [the Speaker event] gave us an amazing chance," Nguyen said. "I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be involved.” Nguyen helped plan keynote logistics and marketing materials.
Both students are excited about hearing Dr. King speak. “I hope to learn more about Dr. King's life and accomplishments as well as gain insights from her many experiences," said Nguyen. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I believe it will leave an impact on every attendee.”
“I hope to learn more ... on how to become a better activist and navigate around diverse environments while standing my ground and making sure to make my voice heard.”
Barro said she hopes to gain insight into “how to become a better activist and navigate around diverse environments while standing my ground and making sure to make my voice heard." She added that she believes all attendees can gain from Dr. King’s wisdom and advice on creating a more peaceful world.
Black History Month events
In addition to the MLK Legacy Keynote, events celebrating Black history, heritage and culture will be held throughout February in honor of Black History Month, representing collaborations between student organizations and University offices across campus. These events are for Bryant community members. More information is posted on Bryant Engaged as well as the Bryant Events Calendar. Some highlights include:
- A Zuzu African Acrobatics virtual performance by the internationally-acclaimed Zuzu Acrobats, a five-person acrobatic troupe based in Mombasa, Kenya. The show embodies the Bantu Culture of East Africa and was seen on America's Got Talent. A cultural education conversation and Q & A will follow the performance.
- A Visiting Writers Series Reading and Workshop with poet Geffrey Davis, author of Night Angler (2019). Davis' writing focuses on fatherhood, trauma, memory, and Black Lives Matter issues.
- Bridging the GAP: Alumni of Color Panel, during which Bryant alumni of color will share advice, knowledge, and experiences navigating professional experiences after Bryant.
- Extravaganza Watch Party, the culmination of Bryant's celebration of Black History Month. Extravaganza is an award-winning multimedia fashion show produced each year by the Multicultural Student Union.