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Dr. David Stovall: MLK Day celebrations advance dialogue all over town


When it comes time to celebrate the anniversary and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a lot of area organizations host some tribute to the slain civil rights leaders who not only advocated for racial equity for African-Americans, but also spoke out against war, housing discrimination, and poverty.

Locally, three of our education institutions, Davenport University, Grand Rapids Community College, and Grand Valley State University have harnessed their power to welcome guest lecturer Dr. David Stovall to Grand Rapids.

Dr. Stovall is a professor of African-American Studies and Criminology, Law & Justice at the University of Illinois in Chicago and will be discussing the MLK-centric themes of urban education, community development, and housing.

Organizers say the professor’s lectures will center on the significance of race in the quality of schools located in our communities that are changing both racially and economically. Dr. Stovall’s work is rooted in Critical Race Theory, educational policy analysis, sociology, urban planning, political science, community organizing, and youth culture.

“I am incredibly proud of the work the three universities undertook as a collegiate body to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King,” said Rhae-Ann Booker, Ph.D., executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Davenport University. “With the incredible and powerful presentation planned by Dr. Stovall, we’ll be able to engage audiences around key issues impacting our community involving justice, bias, and community engagement, an effort that will honor the very principles established by Dr. King.”

Dr. Stovall will be speaking on each of the campuses Monday and Tuesday and will be a part of a larger community gathering on Monday night at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids on January 21. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event begins at 6 p.m. The event is free to all participants.

On campus lectures are as follows:

Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, 9:30 a.m. presentation at Grand Rapids Community College in Applied Technical Center Auditorium 

Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, 1:30 p.m. MLK Silent March and Celebration at Grand Valley State University in Zumberge Hall/Fieldhouse Arena

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, 12 p.m. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Silent March at Davenport University in Sneden Auditorium.
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