Campus News Georgia Impact

University of Georgia partners with community to celebrate life, legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

This week, UGA and the Athens community continue their partnership in offering several events for King Week, a celebration of the life and legacy of the late civil right leader Martin Luther King Jr. 

“The University of Georgia is about service,” says Vanessa Williams Smith, associate dean of students of UGA’s Minority Services and Programs and organizer of the week’s events.  “We are part of this community. The university is not an island. I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to partner with the Athens community.”

So far, the celebration has included a Freedom Breakfast kick-off, a youth pow wow, a downtown march sponsored by the Hispanic Concerns Committee of Athens, and two church services.

On Jan. 17, local high school students gave presentations for the Education Day activities in the Tate Student Center’s Georgia Hall. A third interfaith service is scheduled for Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Tate Student Center’s Reception Hall.

The sounds of a GospelFest will fill the Greater Bethel AME Church, 140 Rose St., at 7 p.m. on Jan. 19. Scheduled talent includes the Billups Rogers Young Generation Choir, Ebenezer Baptist Church West Praise Team, Mt. Pleasant Young Adult Choir, Purpose, Deborah Favors and Friends and New Grove Baptist Church Ensemble.

More music is to come; Jan. 20 begins with an 11 a.m. coffee hour at the Memorial Hall Ballroom, and ends with a music fest by Kaizen Entertainment at 7 p.m. in the Tate Student Center’s Georgia Hall.

The King Week observance concludes Jan 21 with the Black Affairs Council-sponsored Unity Ball at 8 p.m. in the Georgia Hall of the Tate Student Center. Tickets are $5 for singles or $8 for couples in advance, and are available at the Tate Student Center, or by phone (542-8074). The ball is a perfect example of King’s influence, according to Smith.

“All students from all backgrounds and cultures come together,” she says, “as in Dr. King’s dream—and, of course, students want to do it in the form of a party. The students work really hard in putting it together.”