CWU News

Make a Difference, Peace Vigil and March to honor Martin Luther King Jr. at CWU

CWU will host several events and presentations in remembrance of slain civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., who would have turned 90 years old on January 15, 2019.

Second- through fifth-grade students from Ellensburg’s Mount Stuart Elementary School will visit the university campus to commemorate King’s achievements during MLK: Make a Difference. To be held January 16-17, the two-day event is sponsored by the CWU Center for Leadership and Community Engagement (CLCE).

On Wednesday, second- and third-grade students will participate in activities, including group discussion on and opportunities to write about King’s leadership and life. They will also get to role-play about eventful moments from the Civil Rights era.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students will get to take part in similar activities on Thursday, including in university student-led small group mini-centers, which will focus on different aspects of King’s life, work, and the impact he had through his leadership.

Each day’s events will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Student Union and Recreation Center (SURC) Ballroom. In all, about 110 CWU students, including education majors, will help lead the various sessions, as a way to spread King’s vision of peace and equality to the next generation.

The initial event a decade ago involved 30 elementary students. This year, about 330 are expected. The appropriate activity and lesson plans for each grade level have been developed including through collaboration with teachers from Mount Stuart.

The CWU Diversity and Equity Center (DEC), Africana and Black Studies program, Black Student Union (BSU), student-led Brother 2 Brother, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlán (MEChA), and Sincere, Invincible, Self-actualizing, Tenacious, Educate, Resilient, Successful (S.I.S.T.E.R.S.) organizations; and the university’s Chavez-King Leadership Institute are helping coordinate on those events

A Peace Vigil and March will also be held on Thursday, January 17. It will begin with a poster-making opportunity in the Student Union and Recreation Center (SURC) Pit at 5:00 p.m., to develop placards that will be carried from the SURC, weather permitting, for the round-campus march at 5:15 p.m. The event will culminate with a video, spoken word, and jazz performance and presentation by University of Southern California music professor Ron McCurdy and The Langston Hughes Project, CWU BSU and others at 6:00 p.m. in the SURC Theatre.

Those events are sponsored by the BSU, DEC, Africana and Black Studies Program, and CLCE. They are free and open to the public and light refreshments will be available.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,