Whatcom County’s Higher Education Institutions Co-Sponsoring Free MLK Day Events, Keynote Speaker, and Activities

Whatcom County’s four higher education institutions -- Bellingham Technical College, Northwest Indian College, Western Washington University, and Whatcom Community College -- will co-host a keynote speaker and provide opportunities for local community service to recognize the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the national holiday that bears his name.

At 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 18, the institutions will host “Awakening the Legacy,” a free virtual event featuring keynote speaker and WWU alumna Ijeoma Oluo. Oluo is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, “So You Want to Talk About Race,” and the newly released “Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America.”

Her work on race has been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among many others. She has twice been named to the Root 100 list of Most Influential African Americans, and she received the 2018 Feminist Humanist Award and the 2020 Harvard Humanist of the Year Award from the American Humanist Association. She graduated from Western Washington University in 2007 with a degree in Political Science. This virtual special event will also feature student speakers from all four local higher education institutions.

Find out more about “Awakening the Legacy,” including registration details for this free community event, at www.wwu.edu/mlk.

Many local, regional, national and international groups have partnered to provide opportunities for community service to honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual and COVID-safe community service opportunities are available throughout the month of January for community members of all ages at www.wwu.edu/mlk.

Additionally, the 23rd Annual Whatcom Human Rights Task Force Martin Luther King, Jr. Conference will be virtual this year; the theme is “Recapturing the Revolutionary Spirit: Dangerous Unselfishness,” which Dr. King referenced in his April 3, 1968 address, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” delivered in Memphis, Tennessee less than 24 hours before he was assassinated.

The conference, open to the entire community, offers a rare opportunity for people of all ages and walks of life to share their stories, lift their voices to call out injustice and take action that will help make Dr. King’s ideals a reality. The virtual conference takes place Jan. 15-17 at www.whrtf.org.

For more information about these upcoming activities and events, contact Western Washington University Director of Community Relations Chris Roselli at chris.roselli@wwu.edu.