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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration 2024

On January 24th, 2024, Willamette University will once again honor the life and legacy of one of the greatest leaders and humanitarians of our time, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

2024 Commemoration Schedule of Events

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” Round Table Discussions

Wednesday, January 24th
Salem Campus | Goudy | Wilson-Hines Dining Room

Drop in to participate in a round table discussion over lunch on Dr. MLK Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. This event is open to the students, staff, & faculty of Willamette University. 

This iconic piece is widely available online. Please note that this letter includes dehumanizing language as Dr. King was capturing his lived experience and the struggles of his community during the fight for civil rights.

Meal vouchers will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis to staff, faculty, and students without a meal plan so that folks can have these discussions over a meal. There is a limited number of meal vouchers so please reserve one by filling out this form here. You will be notified of pickup instructions and if we’ve run out.

Keynote Speaker: Sterling Cunio & Empowerment Writing Workshop

Wednesday, January 24th
Salem Campus | Putnam University Center | Cat Cavern

Salem writer, poet, & restorative justice facilitator, Sterling Cunio will share their story, speak on “Letter from Birmingham Jail” & read out some of his written work.

Cunio will then lead an empowerment writing workshop where you will learn a new literary device and performance technique for spoken word. Cunio's biography will be updated soon on this webpage for you to learn more about him.

Seating is limited. The speaker is free and open to the WU community & public.

At this time, the Putnam University Center does not have an operable elevator and we unfortunately cannot move this event to another location. We truly apologize for the ADA limitations and inaccessibility. We may be able to stream the keynote. Please check back here throughout the day for any updates.

About Sterling cunio

sterling-cunio-headshotSterling Cunio is an award winning author, playwright and poet. He is an Oregon Literary Arts Fellow, Pen America Arts for Social justice Fellow, and a World Yes Jam Jammer whose work has been published in The Marshall Project, L.A. Book review and performed by various artists including Grammy award winning musician Antino Sanchez. Sterling sits on the board of Directors of Oregon's Transformative Justice Community and acts as lead facilitator for Regroup, a support and empowerment network of Returning Citizens that played an instrumental role in abolishing the authorization of slavery from Oregon's constitution. Along with currently working for Church at The Park in Salem serving its houseless community, Sterling  also works as a lead consultant on the Ubuntu Climate Initiative, a global climate resilience movement focusing on Reuniting people and planet through joy, art and sustainability.

For any questions or disability accommodations, please contact Juliane Corpus at

2024 MLK Day Commemoration Committee

  • Juliane Corpus – Chair
  • Dave Sundby
  • Elizabeth Silva Mendez
  • Jodi Santille
  • Lisa Holliday
  • Lisa Logan
  • Oli Muñoz
  • Reyna Meyers
Willamette University

Office of Intercultural Engagement and Inclusion

Renjen Center - York Hall
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.