Virtual car rally to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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The theme for MLK Week “Good Trouble” is shown on a flyer representing the events that will occur from Jan. 18th until the 23rd. (University of Utah)

The University of Utah will host a virtual car rally on Monday, Jan. 18th in hopes of further educating and informing the public about the the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

The virtual MLK Week car rally event will start online at 2:30 p.m. on Monday. During the livestream, several speeches will be given.

MLK Week is a week of events hosted by the University of Utah’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion division and includes daily events, film screenings, keynote addresses and service projects.

The theme for this year’s MLK Week is “Good Trouble,” a mantra associated with encouraging the “young people” of America to stand up and get into trouble — necessary trouble to make positive and long-lasting change for the future generations of America.

“We think that this message is more relevant, and it’s an opportunity for people to get involved and to get in — as John Lewis would say — ‘good trouble,'” said MLK Week Chair and Director of Communications and Marketing Pamela Bishop. “John Lewis was a student. No one is ever too young to get involved.”

The event is about more than just showing up and protesting. It’s become an important way for Utahns to recognize the incredible work and the changes that Martin Luther King Jr. created for Black Americans.

University of Utah Director of Diversity Ermiya Fanaeian emphasized the importance of celebrating the legacy of Dr. King as a civil rights activist. “Learning about his protests, his organizing and his teachings — his teachings are incredible, and there’s so much weight and vastness to them. It’s an exciting week where we get to honor that,” she said.

Taylor Munlin, president of BYU’s Black Student Union, recognized the many sacrifices that Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists made. “Especially this year with MLK Day, it makes me really appreciative of the strides that they made to allow us to be able to protest today.”

While the purpose of MLK week is to educate the masses about King’s legacy and racial disparity in America, there are also other messages that the University of Utah staff hope will reach the public.

“It’s important for people to understand that because we are living through not just the fruits of his labor and what he fought for, but also through what he was hoping for us to continue fighting for this day,” Fanaeian said.

Bishop said she is hoping for a good turn out for the virtual MLK Week car rally event. “We hope that because we are virtual, we will be able to take advantage of a broader audience that might not even be in the Salt Lake area, but are willing to join in online.”

The MLK Week car rally originally was planned as an in-person event but was changed to a virtual format due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions.

For more information on the event and the MLK Week events, visit https://diversity.utah.edu/mlk/.

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