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MLK, Jr. Celebration

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MLK Day Celebration 2021: "No Love Without Justice: No Justice Without Truth"MLK Jr.

Mark your calendar! The excitement is building for two days of service, learning, and celebration on and off campus Sunday, January 17 and Monday, January 18, in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

All Zoom links will also be in the Zoom Links calendar on myEMU. All EMU students must register for the Zoom gatherings using their EMU email addresses.

“I refuse to accept the view of mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

Scripture:  Psalm- 85:8-13 NLT

Please go to for more details on all MLK Day events.


Sunday, January 17

3:00 p.m. - Community Worship Service with Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, with Glen Guyton: Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA
See more on Guyton at the bottom of this page.

Monday, January 18

Campus Celebration

7:00 a.m. - Dancing Resilience, with Katie Mansfield: Lead Trainer of STAR at Eastern Mennonite University
See more on Dancing Resilience at the bottom of this page before joining.

10:10 a.m. - Convocation featuring Nyle Fort: Minister, Activist, and Scholar
 See more on Fort at the bottom of this page.

11:15 a.m. - Dancing Resilience, with Katie Mansfield
See more on Dancing Resilience

11:45 a.m. - Talk “The Pandemic, Police Violence, and the Possibility of Transformation," with Nyle Fort
See more on this talk at the bottom of this page.

12:00 p.m. - Book Study featuring#1 New York Times Best Seller’s Ibram X.Kendi’s book, How to be an Antiracist, with David Evans: EMU Associate Professor of History and Intercultural Studies, and Ezrionna Prioleau: Theater and Seminary Graduate Student and Student Life Graduate Assistant
See more on this session at the bottom of this page.

1:00 p.m. - POSTPONED/CANCELLED Lecture  "The Rebirth of a Nation: Reconstruction After the Civil War," with Dr. Jacqueline Walker: Emerita Professor of History, James Madison University
See more on this lecture This lecture needed to postponed due to illness. We hope to reschedule for Black History Month.

2:15 p.m. - Presentation "Yes, And: Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter,with Dr. Brent Lewis: Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at James Madison University

See more on this presentation at the bottom of this page.

3:15 p.m. - Lecture "Remembering the Confederacy: A Monumental Debate,with Dr. Mark Sawin: Professor of History, Eastern Mennonite
See more on this lecture.

4:30 p.m. - Bystander Training for Bias and Microaggressions, with Leda Werner: Sexual Violence and Prevention Grant Manager, Eastern Mennonite University, and BJ Bryson, Professor of Social Work at James Madison University
See more on this training below

7:00 p.m. - Dancing Resilience, with Katie Mansfield
See more on Dancing Resilience

Service Projects

Gift Card Drive - Gift card collection for students with food insecurity. Please send gift cards or cash to Celeste R. Thomas in campus mail.

Food Drive - Y-Serve will have boxes for food donations placed throughout the campus.

Bridge of Hope-Harrisonburg-Rockingham - Meal Preparation - Please contact Celeste Thomas ( if you would like to prepare a meal for clients (all ingredients will be supplied).

Community MLK Jr. Day Events

January 18, 8:00 a.m. - "Bright Day Break" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Breakfast
The Sigma Gamma Omega (Harrisonburg, VA) and Lambda Chi (JMU) Chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. cordially invite you to our annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Breakfast. The virtual breakfast will be held on January 18, 2021 at 8:00AM EST via Zoom Webinar. This year, our keynote speaker will be Dr. Ernest Jeffries, Vice President of Student Engagement at Mary Baldwin University. The Annual Drum Major Award will also be presented to a leader in the community.

January 18, 7:00 p.m. - James Madison University - MLK Keynote Speaker: Michelle Montgomery, University of Washington Tacoma
Dr. Montgomery joins us from University of Washington Tacoma and her work focuses on Indigenizing and decolonizing the climate justice narrative, environmental ethics connected to Indigenous Peoples’ place-based identities, and eco-critical race theory to eliminate racial and environmental oppression. 

January 19, 7:00 p.m. - James Madison University - MLK Continuing the Legacy Panel
Our panelists for the evening include Zenobia Lee-Nelson, Semaj Sorhaindo, Amira Saudi, Gabriel Driver, Karina Kline-Gabel, and Dr. Carlos Aleman. 

January 20, 7:00 p.m. - James Madison University - MLK Student Dialogue
Join CMSS DEEP Impact Educators as they facilitate and host a conversation for the entire JMU community on the impact and legacy of MLK Jr.


More on the EMU Worship Speaker of the Hour, Glen Guyton

Glen Guyton is executive director of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) and is the first African American to serve in this position. Guyton has years of executive experience, coaching leaders and cultivating relationships with diverse volunteers and donors. With over 20 years of training in anti-racism and cultural competency, he initially was hired to work with the denomination’s racial/ethnic groups to help MC USA reap the benefits that come with being more diverse, inclusive and culturally competent. As an international speaker, Guyton enjoys connecting with youth, young adults and organizations seeking to stay true to their mission while navigating an increasingly diverse environment. His most recent book is IDEAL: Discovering Your Call in a Cluttered World. Guyton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master’s degree in Education from Regent University. He is a member of San Antonio Mennonite Church in Texas.

Dancing Resilience Description

Dancing Resilience with Katie Mansfield, Lead Trainer of STAR, is an invitation to join in 20ish minutes of dancing online (via Zoom) with a few other people. Playlists on January 18 will reflect themes of Love, Justice, and Truth.

You are welcome to join the dance on MLK Day or any day - there's a session three times a day. (Join the Dancing Resilience group on Facebook if you'd like to join after MLK Day!)

Note: This is NOT a performance, so the only “don’t” is... don’t come as a spectator. It’s not a follow-the-leader thing either, so please honor what YOUR body needs. It is ok to turn off your camera if you don't want to be seen.

Here's the back story.


We have danced every day since March 14, 2020. Now more than 1000 dances (started with 5x a day and then scaled back to 3).

There is enormous pain, upheaval, and change unfolding - these have been for hundreds of years, and the more hopeful dancers suggest this is a time for real transformation. We dance with pain and hope. We dance toward equity, justice, and health. We acknowledge there is a long way to dance. Hard times require furious dancing. Come dance.

More on the Convocation Speaker, Nyle Fort

Nyle Fort is a minister, activist, and scholar based in Newark, NJ. He has worked in education, criminal justice, and youth development for over a decade in various capacities including: the National Director of Communities Against Militarized Police; Founder and Co-Director of the Organizing Praxis Lab at Princeton University; and lead trainer at Momentum, an activist incubator that builds large-scale social movements in the United States and around the world.

Nyle’s activism involves local, national, and international efforts. In 2014, after the tragic shooting death of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, he travelled to Ferguson, Missouri to help build the Movement for Black Lives. Upon his return home, Nyle created Last Words: a liturgy commemorating the last words of black people killed by police and vigilantes. He also established Newark Books and Breakfast: a cultural and political education program that provides free books and breakfast to local youth and families.

Nyle has travelled to over twelve countries to learn, teach, and strategize around issues of democracy and inequality. In 2012, he served as an International fellow at the St. Andrew’s Centre in Southern India where he taught and created curriculum connecting the experiences of Indians and African Americans. In 2014, Nyle worked in Amsterdam and Belgium as the inaugural Beloved Communities fellow where he helped build a multinational effort to challenge global racialized violence. And, most recently, Nyle travelled to Rome to participate in the Vatican’s World Meeting of Popular Movements: a joint initiative of Pope Francis and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to end poverty and promote international human rights.

Nyle has spoken at various academic, cultural, and religious institutions including Harvard University, Yale University, New York University, Swarthmore College, Vassar College, the University of Amsterdam, the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center, the British Library, and the Riverside Church. His writing is featured in several academic journals including Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy and Socialism and Democracy as well as various media outlets including The Guardian, The Nation, and Ebony Magazine.

Nyle is currently a joint Ph.D. candidate in Religion and Interdisciplinary Humanities with a concentration in African American studies at Princeton University. He has won numerous fellowships including the Ford Foundation, the Forum for Theological Exploration, and the Provost Office at the University of Pennsylvania.

While completing his doctoral dissertation, Nyle consults around issues of policing, student activism, faith-based organizing, and diversity and inclusion. His latest project is helping to build a national institute for social justice with a world-renowned social justice scholar and writer.

Talk with Nyle Fort

This talk with Nyle Fort will address racial inequalities under the pandemic and policing, as well as offer pathway forward to transforming race relations in the United States and beyond.

Book Study with David Evans

David Evans is Associate Professor of History and Intercultural Studies at Eastern Mennonite University. His research interests engage the braided realities of racial, religious, and national identities. He is the co-editor of Between the World of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Christianity. David’s current project investigates the practices of white Christian agrarian pacifist resistance to Jim Crowism in the context of Black freedom activism. David holds Masters degrees from Wesley Theological Seminary (History of Christianity) and Drew University (Historical Studies), as well as a PhD in Historical Studies from Drew University Graduate Division of Religion. In concert with his teaching and scholarship, David practices a local “eco-lutionary” lifestyle that promotes a sustainable future for the diverse people of the Shenandoah Valley Watershed.

Lecture with Dr. Jacqueline Walker

Dr. Jaqueline B. Walker discusses the Reconstruction era following the American Civil War, its impact on modern life, and how many of the issues it sought to address remain unresolved.

Presentation with Dr. Brent Lewis

This presentation invites participants to examine the presence of diversity in their own lives and addresses why conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion are not only important in this historical moment but also necessary to secure our common future. We will discuss how anxiety about making a misstep or saying the wrong thing keeps people from engaging fully with others, how differences in lived experiences affect the ways people navigate society, and what happens when we allow fear to replace curiosity.

Lecture with Dr. Mark Sawin

Mark Metzler Sawin will discuss Confederate symbols and how they have been used to promote a white-privileged “heritage” across the American South generally, and here in Harrisonburg/Rockingham County particularly.

Bystander Training for Bias and Microaggressions

Join Leda Werner and BJ Bryson (JMU) to learn techniques to intervene when you see incidents of bias or microaggressions occurring. We'll spend time practicing the techniques together to ensure that you're equipped to start taking action as soon as the training ends.

Further reading and viewing


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