Edmonds CC’s MLK Jr. celebration Jan. 15 to feature keynote by Dr. Michael Benitez Jr.

Dr. Michael Benitez Jr. (Photo courtesy Edmonds CC)

Edmonds Community College will host a free Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The community is invited to celebrates the life and teachings of Dr. King with an inspirational message from keynote speaker Dr. Michael Benitez Jr.

Benitez is a nationally-acclaimed activist-scholar, practitioner, and educator. He has extensive experience in diversity issues in higher education and is known for his down-to-earth, insightful commentary and critical perspectives on social and cultural issues.

He has been featured in educational documentaries, such as “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity” (2012), and has appeared on talk shows such as Worlds Apart and Hard Knock Radio.

In previous roles, Benitez has served as director of Intercultural Development and the Portlock Black Cultural Center at Lafayette College, as adjunct faculty in the Graduate School of Leadership and Professional Advancement at Duquesne University, and as director of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership at Grinnell College.

Informed partly by his poetry and love for spoken word, and as director of Diversity Initiatives and Social Justice at Dickinson College, Benitez established the Diversity Monologues, an ongoing annual program aimed at highlighting the creative talents of students while addressing diversity and social justice – a program he has helped implement and shape at multiple institutions.

Benitez will speak at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on campus in the Black Box Theatre, 20310 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood. Tickets for the 12:30 p.m. keynote are only available at the door with student access given priority. Tickets for the 7 p.m. keynote must be reserved and are available at blackboxedcc.org. This event is open to the community.

Other Martin Luther King Jr. campus events include:

• MLK Jr. Birthday Party and Scavenger Hunt from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14 at Triton Student Center in Brier Hall.

Be on the lookout for scavenger hunt clues around campus and enjoy a birthday celebration and birthday cake for Martin Luther King Jr.

• Know your rights: Education and Advocacy Day from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 at Triton Student Center in Brier Hall.

Do you have hope to change the world but don’t know how? Come learn about different ways to be an activist and how to make the world a better place.

• Engaging Peace Through Our Multicultural Identities from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Center for Student Cultural Diversity and Inclusion, Brier Hall.

Engage in a workshop to explore your identity and learn more about yourself.

For directions and a campus map, visit edcc.edu/campus. For more information about these events, visit edcc.edu/mlk.

  1. Listening to Cracking the Codes — The System of Racial Inequity was difficult because the ideas put forward are so tired.

    The documentary doesn’t crack any codes, and runs in complete contrast to the ideas of MLK, even counter to modern ideas that make tangible attempts to diagnose inequity, such as those put forward by Michelle Alexander http://newjimcrow.com/. If MLK were here today, I don’t think he’d want to associate with these speakers any more than he wanted to associate with Malcolm X.

    The #1 problem with black communities is the decay of traditional family units. The prison industrial complex (which Alexander focuses on), the welfare industrial complex and many other smaller systems have actually re-subjugated people by taking dads away from each household. More than 70% of POC are born out of wedlock. A rare congregation of a 100 POC here in Edmonds resulted in a dad being taken away. Policies created many of these problems and policies can fix that inequity. Policies created a counterculture.

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