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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

AU Unity Week features several events inspired by the work of MLK





ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University will celebrate AU Unity Week Jan. 16-19 with a series of events to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while bringing students, faculty, staff and the broader community together for conversation, fellowship, engagement and service. AU’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence (DEI) is coordinating the celebration, and all of the events are open to the public.


“I am so excited to bring Unity Week 2023 to Ashland University to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and to inspire us as we move forward,” said Brielle Nettles, executive director of DEI. “Through this series of in-person and virtual events, members of AU and the larger Ashland area can celebrate our rich diversity and come together in ways that advance unity, peacemaking, justice and joy. Inspired by Dr. King’s exhortation ‘The time is always right to do what is right,’ it is my hope that Unity Week will encourage us all to remain diligent and active in the work of building a beloved community.”


On MLK Day itself, Monday, Jan. 16, AU students will be volunteering from 12-4 p.m. for a number of community partners, including Ashland Special Needs Ministry, ACCESS, Safe Haven, Paid in Full and Ashland Parenting Plus. Students, faculty and staff can still sign up to help here.


That evening, AU is hosting “Unity in Fellowship,” which will feature a jazz band and readings of MLK texts and original works. It will take place at Jack and Deb Miller Chapel from 6:30-8:30 p.m.


On Tuesday, Jan. 17, a “Lunch and Learn” will be hosted by AU professors Peter Slade and Craig Hovey. They will lead a study and discussion of “Paul’s Letter to American Christians,” a sermon that King delivered at the inaugural convention of the United Presbyterian Church. This event will be held in ABCD Conference Room of the Hawkins-Conard Student Center, starting at noon (light food will be served).


A virtual fireside chat will be held Wednesday, Jan. 18, from 7-8 p.m., featuring attorney Bobby Alexander. A scholar, educator and equity champion, Alexander is focused on increasing access and opportunity for at-risk communities and his commitment to justice and equality will inspire the audience. Registration for the virtual event is available here.


On Thursday, Jan. 19, there will be a DEI Open House at the Robert Troop Center from noon-2 p.m. It is an opportunity for AU clubs and organizations, as well as community-based groups, to come together and showcase their work and share options how to join or support them (light refreshments will be served).

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