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In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity organized a candlelight vigil at the Compass on MLK Day in 2023. This year, the vigil will be held on Jan. 22. Credit: Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford

The African American Resource Center is commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy with a month of events. 

The 29th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Symposium on social change began on Jan. 15. It will continue through Feb. 2, according to the AARC website, featuring events that aim to “reaffirm [the University’s] commitment to the betterment of our communities."

The symposium started with a Jan. 15 “kick-off” breakfast and keynote address in Houston Hall. The address was delivered by Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly, associate professor of African American studies at Wayne State University. Other featured events that day included a free Dog and Cat Wellness and Vaccination clinic and a virtual workshop on King’s legacy led by historian Dr. Anthony Monteiro. 

Community members also participated in Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service projects, including the "Pocketful of Toiletries" initiative, where volunteers repurposed t-shirts to make bags, and filled them with items such as socks, toiletries, and winter wear for distribution at local shelters. 

Upcoming programming includes the 23rd annual MLK Social Justice Lecture and Award, which will take place on Jan. 24 at the Zellerbach Theatre. Women of Color at Penn and Men of Color are also hosting an MLK-Inspired Paint-Along for Penn employees on Feb. 1.

The AARC will also be awarding the 28th Annual Community Involvement Recognition Awards this year. The recipients of the award were nominated in the fall by members of the Penn and Philadelphia community. Last year, these awards were presented by former Penn President Liz Magill. 

These awards serve to commemorate members of the Philadelphia community “whose local engagements and active service to others best exemplifies the ideals Dr. King espoused."

“Sharing our strengths and diversity as we commemorate Dr. King has an impact that can be felt across both the University of Pennsylvania’s campus and the Philadelphia community as a whole,” the AARC wrote on their website.