Recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthdate has been a tradition at The University of Iowa since 1969, and the national holiday has been observed through human rights programs since its inception in 1986. In 1990 the University initiated the Human Rights convocation program. The convocation has been an opportunity for serious thinking by all of us about issues of social justice, human rights, and world peace.
An official University holiday was designated in 1995 to provide an opportunity to engage the University community in a discussion of the human values that the King holiday epitomizes. These initial events have grown into a campus wide celebration that engages faculty, staff, students and community members to give lectures, discussions, and cultural arts presentations.
Annually we collaborate with the Human Rights Committee to create a campaign based on a selected MLK, Jr. quote. The quote often reflects current topics and issues revolving around social justice and human rights. This year's quote asked,"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"The focus of the campaign is to bring awareness to these issues and give the University and it's people the chance to reflect.
Recently our team has implemented an interactive element into the campaigns allowing us to further engage students and staff in the community and allow them a platform to voice their reflections. Students were given sheets of paper asking what they do for others. The handwritten testimonials were hung on display and then posted online as a reminder of the great work being done in the Iowa City community.
Division of Student Life