Skip to main content

MLK Dream Week highlighted by 1619 Project creator

Candlelight vigil and keynote events have moved to Zoom this year
NIkole Hannah-Jones
Nikole Hannah-Jones is the MLK 2022 Dream Week keynote speaker

Northwestern University will commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with virtual Dream Week events Jan. 17 to 24. This year’s keynote speaker is Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and creator of the New York Times’ 1619 Project. The keynote conversation at 5 p.m. Jan. 24 is free and open to the public.

Dream Week 2022 is a cross-campus collaboration with Northwestern’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. See the complete Dream Week 2022 schedule with registration links by visiting the Northwestern MLK website.

Key Dream Week events include the candlelight vigil, keynote address and oratorical contest.

Candlelight vigil

Hosted annually since 1980 by Northwestern’s Alpha Mu Chapter of Dr. King’s fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, the 2022 Candlelight Vigil address will be given by Northwestern alumnus Dr. Jeffrey Sterling (’85), a physician, author, speaker, business leader and activist in community-based medicine, health care and public health, and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brother. The event is at 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17. A free will donation for the March of Dimes is suggested.

Sterling is president and CEO of both Sterling Initiatives, a healthcare consulting and implementation firm, and SIMPCO, LLC, a managed preventative care organization. He is also founder of the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, a national chapter organization of medical and other health career aspirants, with 300 college chapters nationally.

Sterling served two terms as president of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association (NUBAA). Additionally, he is a co-founder of the NUBAA Archives, the first effort toward documenting the history of Black students at Northwestern and served as executive producer of the documentary “The Takeover: The Revolution of the Black Experience at Northwestern University.”

Keynote address

Hannah-Jones was selected to deliver the keynote addresses by the Dream Week 2022 committee to provide insight into the national conversation for a call to action for social progress and change.

“Through investigative reporting, Hannah-Jones’ body of work examines a continued truth about racial injustice in our nation’s history and present,” said Robin R. Means-Coleman, vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion. “More, her reporting comes at a critical time when we must all be reminded to be agents of positive change in our society.”

The Chicago conversation, at noon, Monday, Jan. 24, features Hannah-Jones in conversation with Dr. Linda I Suleiman and Robin Walker Sterling. Suleiman is director of diversity and inclusion, McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University; assistant dean of medical education and assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and medical education at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine. Sterling is associate dean for clinical education; director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic; and Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law at Northwestern University, Pritzker School of Law.

The Evanston conversation, at 5 p.m. Jan. 24, is a conversation with Charles Whitaker, dean and professor at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

Who is Nikole Hannah-Jones?

A webinar discussion at noon Tuesday, Jan. 18, with professors Leslie Harris and Kate Masur will explore Jones’ work as a journalist, its antecedents, its significance and the controversies it has generated. This event is sponsored by The Women’s Center, the Feinberg Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Pritzker School of Law. Register online.

Highlighting community organizers

A panel of Chicago-area community organizations highlights the work people in the community are doing to support diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Watch the event at noon Wednesday, Jan. 19, online.

‘The American Dream’

Streaming of the “The American Dream” speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on July 4, 1965, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Watch at noon Thursday, Jan. 20, in the Law School atrium at 375 E. Chicago Ave. or online.

Oratorical contest

Chicago campus students and staff are invited to participate in the 2022 Oratorical Contest. The top three finishers in the staff and student categories will be awarded prizes ranging from $150-$300. The 2022 topic is “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience. Watch at noon Friday, Jan. 21, online.

For Journalists: view the news release for media contacts and assets