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2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

The mission of the ASU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee is to celebrate the legacy and the tenets set forth by Dr. King and his life examples of servant leadership. Servant leadership is a practical philosophy which supports people who choose to serve first, and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions.

Servant-leadership encourages collaboration, trust, foresight, listening and the ethical use of power and empowerment. The ASU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee encourages the continuation of Dr. King’s legacy all year long.

Dr. Martin Luther King jr. at the podium


The Celebration

Arizona State University will host its 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in January 2020. Tributes and recognition of Dr. King and the achievements of the civil rights movement have been celebrated at ASU since long before the creation of a state holiday in Arizona. A highlight of the celebration is the recognition and awards ceremony for the Arizona K-12 students who are winners of the statewide essay-poster contest. A children’s march on the West campus and other events are also held.

MLK Day of Service

Saturday, January 25, 2020
Service sites and times vary by location

Join ASU MLK Celebration Committee and Changemaker Central for a powerful day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Transportation (to/from service site) and lunch provided. See for more information.

2018 MLK Day of Service photos

MLK Holiday

Monday, January 20, 2020

Offices and classrooms on all ASU campuses are closed to observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

MLK March on West

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
11 a.m. – Noon
ASU West Campus

The Martin Luther King, Jr. March on West is an annual tradition at Arizona State University’s West campus that dates back to 1991. Hundreds of middle school students participate in interactive educational presentations about the civil rights movement before preparing posters and recreating the historical 1963 March on Washington, D.C. At the end of the march, they hear the inspirational “I have a dream” speech reenacted by ASU faculty member Charles St. Clair. March starts at the Paley Gates in front of campus. The public is invited to this free event. Visitor parking on campus costs $3 per hour. Information is here.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Celebration

Thursday, January 23, 2020
7:00am - 9:00am
ASU Polytechnic Campus

For community members, students, winners of the poster-essay contest and their parents, teachers and principals. By invitation. Information: (480) 965-2777

Photos from the MLK Breakfast Celebration 2018


St. Mary’s Food Bank

ASU MLK Servant-Leadership Award Recipient
Accepted by Tom Kertis

St. Mary’s Food Bank is committed to serving the Arizona community through volunteerism to better the lives of Arizonans in need, one meal at a time.

St. Mary’s distributes food to almost 500 nonprofit partners including food pantries and homeless shelters that represent 13 of Arizona’s 15 counties. Beyond food distribution, St. Mary’s also oversees children’s feeding programs and a community kitchen.

One of the organization’s missions is to ensure no child goes to bed hungry. With initiatives such as Kids Café and the Backpack Program, St. Mary’s hopes to end child hunger so that Arizona’s youth can live healthy, productive lives.

St. Mary’s hands-on approach to ending hunger not only distributes food, but also combats poverty through employment assistance at its Community Kitchen. Here, those who experience barriers to employment can learn food skills and receive food service training. The organization also offers job placement assistance and support to graduates of the program.

St. Mary’s goes above and beyond to ease the burden of hunger and has had an unequivocal impact on members of the Arizona community.

Dontá McGilvery

ASU MLK Student Servant-Leadership Awardee

Dontá McGilvery is a servant leader at heart who has devoted his life to giving a voice to the voiceless. As a pastor, student and changemaker, he takes initiative in marginalized communities to promote representation while simultaneously combating misrepresentation. He is a Theater for Youth PhD candidate at Arizona State University and hopes to amplify the voices of people of color using theater as a platform.

McGilvery is the founder of Sleeveless Acts Drama Company in Phoenix. Sleeveless Acts is a nonprofit created to combat systematic inequality in the drama industry by telling stories that otherwise might have gone untold. In Spring 2019, he will teach a course he created at ASU entitled African American Theater that explores the work of black playwrights. He also serves as the Director of Drama Ministry at the First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix, where he oversees drama productions.

From joining a Civil Rights Pilgrimage across the U.S. Southland on three separate occasions to studying homelessness by becoming homeless himself for a year, McGilvery is an inspiration for his dedication to serving others. He is an agent of change committed to bettering the community as a whole and creating an equal platform of opportunity — on the stage and beyond.