The University Record, January 8, 2001

Actor Edward James Olmos to deliver MLK keynote speech

By Jane R. Elgass
Click here for a listing of MLK Symposium events.

Actor, producer, director and community activist Edward James Olmos will deliver the keynote address for the University’s commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. More than 75 events, including workshops, lectures and performances, are scheduled under the theme “Commitment and Renewal.”

This is the 14th year the University has celebrated Martin Luther King Day, in what continues as one of the largest and most comprehensive series of events in the country.

In a message in the events brochure, President Lee C. Bollinger noted, “A commitment to diversity is one of Michigan’s most cherished values. The University can take great pride that it begins each new year by coming together on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to participate in an ongoing dialogue with distinguished speakers.”

Bollinger notes also that the commemoration is an opportunity to “reaffirm our appreciation of the wide range of perspectives and talents brought to the University by students, faculty and staff from a variety of backgrounds.”

Olmos will deliver the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture on the commemoration theme at 10 a.m. Jan. 15 in Hill Auditorium.

The actor is perhaps most widely known for his portrayal of Jaime Escalante in the 1987 film Stand and Deliver, which was based on actual events. Escalante is a mathematics teacher in a school in a Hispanic neighborhood. Convinced that his students have potential, he adopts unconventional teaching methods to try and turn gang members and those who seem to have no hope for themselves into some of the country’s top algebra and calculus students.

In 1999, Olmos launched a nationwide multimedia project, “Americanos: Latino Life in the United States,” that is a celebration of Latino culture through photography, film, music and the printed word.

He also is the executive director of the Lives in Hazard Education Project, a national gang prevention program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

A reception for Olmos will be held at 5 p.m. Jan. 14 in the East Hall Atrium.

Children of all ages are invited to attend the MLK Day Children’s Program, which begins at 9 a.m. Jan. 15 in Mendelssohn Theatre. Sponsored by the School of Education, School of Social Work and 2001 MLK Symposium Planning Committee, the program features a full day of cultural and educational activities.

Included are performances by the Mosaic Youth Choir, the Indian American Student Association, Robert Jones (Blues for Schools) and impersonator Kemba, who portrays historical African American women in a dramatic one-woman show.

Following a pizza lunch, a series of educational workshops will be led by School of Education students and volunteers. The animated documentary Our Friend Martin will be shown.

More than 300 children from Ann Arbor and surrounding communities have attended this program in prior years, and teachers and parents are encouraged to bring their children this year.

Among other activities are:

  • “Race, Society and the Digital Divide,” a lecture by Manning Marable, 7 p.m. Jan. 11, Michigan League Ballroom.

    Marable is professor of history and political science and the founding director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of 13 books and recently initiated a new quarterly journal, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, which examines theoretical issues within Black America, Africa and the Caribbean.

  • “Acting on the Dream: The MLK Day of Service,” 12:30 p.m. Jan. 15, Chemistry Building Atrium.

    Project SERVE-Campus Programs/Spark and the 2001 MLK Symposium Planning Committee welcome participation by faculty, staff and students in an afternoon of service activities at various community-based agencies in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area. Transportation is provided to and from community sites.

    For information, contact Shelly Hundiwal, (734) 327-4878 or shundiwa@umich.edu.,

  • “I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr.,” 3:30 p.m. Jan. 15, Rackham Auditorium.

    Michael Eric Dyson, scholar and author of the controversial book, I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr., will speak at this program, sponsored by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, School of Social Work and Department of Communication Studies. His remarks will be preceded by a short film about King created for children.

  • “Race Relations and Sport: A Viewing of the Curt Flood Gallery” will be on display Jan. 15-19 at the Central Campus Recreation Building, sponsored by the Paul Robeson Research Center. The exhibition features racial images, ranging from Robeson to Michael Jordan.

  • Annual Business and Finance Division Convocation, 11:30 a.m. Jan. 15, Power Center for the Performing Arts. Featuring refreshments and entertainment lasting through the afternoon, the first performance will be by Emphatheatre at 12:15 p.m. The group will perform three improvisational skits based on the commemoration theme. Also scheduled to appear are the Business and Finance Diversity Choir, the John E. Lawrence Band and the Highest Praise Gospel Ensemble.

  • Business School MLK Keynote Lecture by Juan Williams, 1: 30 p.m. Jan. 15, Hale Auditorium, Business School. Williams is the creator of the award-winning series Eyes on the Prizeand host of a syndicated talk show on National Public Radio. A question-and-answer session and reception will follow Williams’ presentation, which is sponsored by the School of Business Administration.

  • “With Our Very Own Names” by Carmen Tafolla, 2 p.m. Jan. 15, Michigan Union Ballroom. A noted author and speaker, Tafolla will present her one-woman theatrical performance—a mosaic of barrio voices that include the first-grader, the elder person, the GI, the dropout and the professional. This event is sponsored by the University Library, Office of the Chief Information Officer and the School of Information.

  • “Civil Rights Issues: Obstacles and Strategies for Moving Forward,” 4 p.m. Jan. 15, Room 250, Hutchins Hall. Featured panelists are Michael Rodriguez of the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund and federal judges Denise Page Hood and Algenon Marbley. A question-and-answer session and reception will follow the panel presentation, which is sponsored by the Law School, Black Law Students Association, Asian Pacific Law Students Association and the Latino Law Students Association.

  • “Gallery of Dreams,” on display at Pierpont Commons through Jan. 18, features the work of artists from local high schools that is centered on cultural themes. An award presentation will be held at 5 p.m. Jan. 15.

  • “Urban Sprawl, Justice and the Environment: An Evening with Robert D. Bullard,” 7 p.m. Jan. 17, Hale Auditorium, Business School. Bullard is director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center and is the Ware Professor of Sociology at Clark Atlanta University. He will discuss his most recent book, Sprawl City: Race, Politics and Planning in Atlanta. His appearance is sponsored by the Urban Planning Student Association, School of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

  • North Campus Cultural Fair, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Chrysler Center Lobby and Media Union Gallery. Exhibitions, performances and food from a wide array of cultural groups will precede an MLK Talent Showcase in this event, sponsored by the College of Engineering, American Society for Engineering Education and the Society of Minority Engineering Students-Graduate.

  • “Academic Life: In Search of the Perfect Metaphor,” featuring Michael Olivas, 12:30 p.m. Jan. 22, Room 250, Hutchins Hall. Olivas is the Bates Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center and the author of eight books, among them a casebook on higher education law. His presentation will review recent higher education legal cases, including important admissions cases involving race and cases on the legal aspects of grading. His presentation is sponsored by the Law School and 2001 MLK Symposium Planning Committee.

    Check the Web at www.mlksymposium.org for additional events.