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Events to celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recognize work of solidarity in building a place for all

Community leaders committed to building a place for all will discuss their work and how others can be involved during the University of Dayton's annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the Kennedy Union ballroom. No public tickets are available for the breakfast.

"We chose these panelists for their work on campus and in the greater Dayton community to build a community where everyone belongs," commented Verb Washington and Christina Smith, chairs of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee. "They will shine a light on work impacting our campus and the Dayton community, what solidarity means to them, ways they've seen solidarity in Dayton, and how we can help create positive change on campus and beyond."

Scheduled panelists include:

  • Joshua Chambers, vice president of Black Action through Unity at the University of Dayton and the diversity ambassador for the School of Business Administration.
  • Ashleigh Lawrence-Saunders, University of Dayton assistant professor of history, who researches 19th and 20th century U.S. history, African American history and African American Civil War memory.
  • Delali Nenonene, University of Dayton student and Newman Civic Fellow. He created the "Tough Talks" campus series to foster conversations on race and the political climate in America, and helped institute implicit bias training for first-year students.
  • Darius J. Beckham, legislative aide to Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
  • The Rev. Norman Scearce, pastor of Dayton's Gateway Cathedral, who also serves on the Trotwood-Madison Board of Education and is the executive director for the OpenGate Urban Initiatives.
  • Mary Tyler, outgoing executive director of the National Conference for Community & Justice of Greater Dayton. She also serves as a Junior Achievement volunteer at DECA (Dayton Early College Academy) Prep and is on the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce board of trustees.

The panel will be moderated by Lawrence Burnley, University of Dayton vice president for diversity and inclusion.

The annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast also will be part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's annual National Day of Racial Healing. The foundation encourages colleges and universities to engage in activities, events or strategies that day to promote healing and foster engagement around the issues of racism, bias, inequity and injustice. 

Other University of Dayton events to celebrate King include:

  • Wreath laying ceremony at University of Dayton monument to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 11:15 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16. The monument is located across from the Frericks Center. Open to the public.
  • The University's monthly prayer service for peace and people impacted by discrimination and violence — Prayers of the Heart — at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at the University of Dayton Peace Pole in the courtyard between the Immaculate Conception Chapel and St. Mary's Hall. Open to the public.
  • Faculty, staff and students will participate in the city of Dayton's Martin Luther King Day march at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20. Open to the public.
  • Table of Plenty lunch discussion for UD faculty staff and students on social justice topics related to the impact and legacy of King at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, in Torch Lounge. Sponsored by the Center for Social Concern and the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center.
  • Faculty, students and staff will participate in a day of service in the Dayton community — the MLK Social Justice Plunge throughout Dayton 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25.
  • Movie nights and discussions — Monsters and Men (6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, Roesch Library Collaboration Space) and "Beyond Civil Rights: King's Vision of the Strength in Solidarity" (3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, Roesch Library Dialogue Zone). Open to UD faculty, staff and students. Monsters and Men addresses the aftermath of a police killing of a black man told through the eyes of a bystander who filmed the killing, an African American police officer and a high school baseball phenom inspired to take a stand for social justice. "Beyond Civil Rights: King's Vision of the Strength in Solidarity" is an opportunity for UD faculty, staff and students to discuss how to build community through recognition of King's vision of the strength in solidarity.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or


News and Communications Staff