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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations - 2024

Belonging: We cannot be what we cannot see

Join the University of Dayton as we celebrate and learn from the life, work and actions of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a series of events, programs and opportunities for reflection, dialogue, and service. For more information, email

Current Columbus Community Shelter Board president, past YWCA Dayton exec to speak at sold-out MLK breakfast

A champion for a home for everyone and social justice for all, Shannon Isom, president and CEO of Columbus' Community Shelter Board and past president and CEO of YWCA Dayton, will serve as the University's Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast speaker.

Isom is a board member for the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio and YWCA USA. She also is a member of the Equity Now Coalition focused on social justice in Central Ohio and the Regional Housing Coalition; a group of municipalities, nonprofits and private sector partners addressing housing challenges. 

While in Dayton, Isom served as a board member for Dayton Downtown Partnership, Co-Op Dayton, Community Appeals Board for the City of Dayton and Miami Valley Regional Planning Committee; and as co-chair of the Racism is a Public Health Crisis task force. She received a humanitarian award from the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton in 2022. 

The theme for the sold-out breakfast — at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16 — in the Kennedy Union ballroom, is "Belonging: We cannot be what we cannot see." 

During the breakfast, the University will recognize the University’s MLK Scholars and Dream Keepers, UD faculty and staff exemplifying excellence in leadership and service which embodies King’s philosophy to improve the human experience and advance civil rights. The Dayton Jazz Ensemble also is scheduled to perform at the breakfast.

The breakfast menu includes chicken and waffles, crustless broccoli and cheddar cheese quiche, and fresh fruit cup. Vegetarian options include tofu scrambled eggs, a Beyond Chicken vegan strip, gluten-free waffle and fresh fruit cup. Gluten-free options are crustless quiche, grilled chicken breast and gluten free waffle. 

Because of the weather forecast for Tuesday morning, Jan. 16, the procession to and wreath-laying ceremony at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument across from the Frericks Center scheduled for after the annual MLK breakfast will be moved to the KU ballroom. At about 9:15 a.m., approximately 15 minutes after the conclusion of the breakfast, attendees are invited to stay and others from campus are invited to come to the KU ballroom for the ceremony that will include a prayer, a recording of a Dr. King speech and symbolic wreath-laying on a replica of a portion of UD's MLK monument.

Other University of Dayton events for UD faculty, staff and students to celebrate King include:

  • Film screening and discussion of "The Best of Enemies" from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in the Kennedy Union Torch Lounge. "The Best of Enemies," according to Netflix, is about a 1971 summit on school integration in North Carolina that pits a civil rights activist against a Ku Klux Klan leader, sparking an unlikely friendship.
  • University libraries and UD’s Department of History will host a film screening of and dialogue about "At the River I Stand" at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, in Roesch Library 240. "At the River I Stand" chronicles the Memphis sanitation workers strike of 1968 and King's assassination. This is a PATH-eligible event; register here.
  • During the MLK committee's student-led writing workshop 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, in Kennedy Union Torch Lounge, first-year students will learn about Dr. King’s "I Have a Dream" speech and will be given writing tools to create spoken word and poetry compositions, which they can perform during the "I Have a Dream" poetry slam at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, in the Kennedy Union Boll Theatre. The goal of the events is for students to be able to explain the cultural impact of the speech and reflect on their experiences regarding identity and racial differences. This workshop is a PATH-eligible event, register here
  • From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, UD faculty, staff and students will participate in the MLK Social Justice Plunge, a day of service during which participants will explore how civic and community engagement are essential to social justice advocacy. The group will start with a session in the Adele Center on campus 10 a.m. to noon before spending the afternoon with the city of Dayton's community engagement department to learn about how it engages with neighborhoods and how residents make change in their communities. Register here.

The schedule is subject to change. Other events may be added. Check this page for updates. E-mail with questions.


Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center

Alumni Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0318