Events around Western North Carolina will celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., kicking off with the annual prayer breakfast on Saturday and continuing on MLK Day (Monday, Jan. 15) and throughout the week.
Saturday, Jan. 13
The 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast takes place at 8 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville. Adult tickets: $25; youth tickets: $15; patron tickets: $35 with name listed in the program journal. The keynote address will be delivered this year by Oralene Anderson Graves Simmons, who founded the prayer breakfast in 1982. Tickets are available at mlkasheville.org or by calling 828-335-6896.
Monday, Jan. 15
Day of events at Black Star Line Brewing
Black Star Line Brewing, an African-American-owned brewery in Hendersonville, will host a full day of events, service, education and conversations about the life and legacy of King. The lineup includes films, music, poetry, service opportunities and a vegan community dinner. The event, called “MLK: Intersectionality, Beloved Community, Justice & Action,” takes place 9 a.m.-9 p.m. at 131 W. Third Ave. See avl.mx/4i8 for more information.
Lend a Hand at Shiloh Community
The Shiloh Community Association will host its fourth annual MLK Day: Lend a Hand from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in Asheville. “We welcome our friends, neighbors and patrons to join us for a celebration of diversity and success through action,” the group states on the Facebook event page. Drop in anytime to lend a hand. Youth will be leading work crews and sharing social justice themes in the afternoon. There will be food to share. Bring your own cup, plate and utensils. For more information, call 828-277-9654 or 828-215-5998.
Peace march and rally
The MLK Association of Asheville & Buncombe County will commemorate King with a peace march and rally beginning at 11:30 a.m. at St. James AME Church at Martin Luther King Drive and Hildebrand Street. At noon, participants will march to City-County Plaza to hear speakers on justice and peace.
March at WCU
The 2018 MLK Unity March will be held on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee starting at 2 p.m. A reception will be held at the A.K. Hinds University Center’s Illusions Club at 3 p.m. It is sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and WCU’s intercultural affairs department.
Kenilworth Church will host its eighth annual Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. starting at 5:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Standing Up by Sitting Down: How Asheville Activists Sparked a Revolution,” and Lewis Brandon, who was part of desegregating the lunch counters and movie theaters in Greensboro in the early 1960s, will discuss the Greensboro/Asheville civil rights connection. Potluck 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Kenilworth Center 4 Chiles Ave. (directly behind church) and the program will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary. See the Facebook event for more information.
A 6 p.m., a candlelight service will be held at Central United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall to honor area citizens and organizations that have dedicated themselves to the cause of social justice.
Tuesday, Jan. 16
Poor People’s Campaign
A town hall gathering will kick off the local Poor People’s Campaign 7-9 p.m. at Hill Street Baptist Church, 135 Hill St., Asheville. The event ties into the 50th anniversary of King’s vision of a Poor People’s Campaign and the new national campaign, launching in May, which will include educational events, protests and nonviolent direct actions. The Jan. 16 event will feature local speakers who have been impacted by their poverty in the main areas of policy concerns in the PPC: poverty, racism, militarism and ecological devastation. For more information, see the Facebook event at avl.mx/4i7. The town hall is free and open to the public.
Wednesday, Jan. 17
Performance-based event at WCU
On Wednesday, Jan. 17, “Unity, Not Uniformity” will take place at 7 p.m. in the UC’s Grandroom at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. The performance-based event allows for creative expression of King’s legacy of cooperation, brotherhood, peace and respect. It is sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, WCU’s Inspirational Gospel Choir, Black Student Union, Sexuality and Gender Alliance, the NAACP at WCU, Latino Appreciation Student Organization and WCU’s Department of Intercultural Affairs.
Reading of On the Row
As part of its week of events highlighting the legacy of King, UNC Asheville will host a dramatic reading of On The Row from the Northwest Arkansas Prison Project, which features the writing of death row inmates in Arkansas. The reading will be presented by Asheville-area actors, including three UNC Asheville students. Director David Joliffe, professor of English at the University of Arkansas, will lead an audience Q&A after the reading. The event is free and open to the public and takes place 7-9 p.m. at the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center, 285 Livingston St., Asheville.
Thursday, Jan. 18
“I’m Not a Racist” session at WCU
Intercultural Affairs will hold a cultural awareness and sensitivity education session titled “I’m Not A Racist” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the UC’s Raleigh Room at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Intercultural Affairs Director Dana Patterson will facilitate the interactive session.
Keynote address by Michelle Alexander at UNCA
Michelle Alexander, author of the best-selling book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, will deliver the keynote address for the UNC Asheville’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week. No tickets are required for this free talk at 7 p.m. in Kimmel Arena at UNCA’s Sherrill Center. The doors will open at 6 p.m., and seating is first-come, first-served. For more information, contact UNC Asheville Events & Conferences Office at 828-251-6853 or visit events.unca.edu
Friday, Jan. 19
Co-founder of Black Lives Matter
Malaprop’s Bookstore presents Patrisse Cullors, who was instrumental in the founding and growth of the Black Lives Matter movement, at a 6 p.m. event at Rainbow Community Center (60 State St.) in West Asheville. Along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, Cullors created the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag in the wake of the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen. In conversation with Warren Wilson College professor Rima L. Vesely-Flad, Cullors will speak about her memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist. Tickets to the event are $10 and are available at avl.mx/4gz.
Building Bridges begins 25th year
Building Bridges of Asheville will begin its 2018 winter session on Jan. 20. The nine-week Building Bridges session offers an introduction to the dynamics of racism and an opportunity to explore how race has impacted our relationships, communities and institutions. The sessions meet Mondays, 7-9 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church in Asheville; the session costs $35. For more information and to register, see www.bbavl.org.
Monday, Jan. 29
MLK speaker at WCU
Jane Elliott, renowned teacher, lecturer and diversity trainer, will be the 2018 MLK speaker at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Elliott is the creator of “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes,” an exercise that seeks to teach students about discrimination by treating them differently based on the color of their eyes. Elliott has spent the past 50 years educating people across the world, appearing on TV and in other media and presenting at more than 350 colleges and universities. In addition to her numerous awards and accolades, Elliott also has been criticized, discriminated against, threatened and challenged as a result of her work, but she has remained committed to helping people better understand the impact of discrimination. The event is free and open to the public.