Every year, the Washington University School of Medicine community honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a week of programming open to our campus and community.

Events include keynote speakers, service opportunities, panel discussions, and more.

MLK Week Commemoration 2023: Amplifying Voices through Courageous Storytelling

We are excited to share the WashUMed ODEI annual MLK Week Commemoration 2023 dates!

Tuesday, January 17th – Friday, January 20th 

Tuesday, January 17th  at 12:00pm-1:00pm: Perspectives: Recognizing & Speaking Up Against Disinformation about Equity and Justice Work – Virtual Event

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” – MLK, Jr. 

Perspectives seeks to provide space for participants to share experiences and build muscles for listening, understanding, empathy and dialogue across viewpoints. Our first MLK Week session will share information and facilitate dialogue around the growing movement to discredit equity, justice and antiracism work in medical education, biomedical research and health care generally.  

Tuesday, January 17th at 5:30pm – 6:30pm – Yoga for Self-Compassion  – Virtual Event 

 “You know, a lot of people don’t love themselves. And they go through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts. So the length of life means that you must love yourself. And you know what loving yourself also means? It means that you’ve got to accept yourself.”

For this evening session of yoga for healing we are excited to once again be led by an instructor from The Collective STL, a vibrant group of Black yoga and wellness instructors, fully committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Black communities in St. Louis.  

Wednesday, January 18th at 1:30pm – 3:00pm – Keynote Panel: The Truth about Critical Race Theory (CRT) – Virtual Event

“We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.” 

Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. This past year, CRT has become a focal point, used to criticize public education, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Often misrepresented, it has been used to foster division in the public arena, particularly around its use in schools and more recently, medical education. 

The 2023 MLK Keynote Panel will feature three panelists to provide foundational awareness about what Critical Race Theory is. Panelist will discuss how the discourse around CRT is impacting education as well as amplify how narrative and storytelling are key tools within CRT for advancing equity and justice work. Our panelists include: 

  • Angel Jones, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor, SIUE 
  • Heather Fleming, Founder & Owner, In Purpose Educational Services 
  • Yetunde Janski-Ogunfidodo (Tunde), Humans of St. Louis 

Thursday, January 19th  at 7:30am – 8:30am – Yoga for Self-Compassion  – Virtual Event 

 “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. 

For this morning session of yoga for healing we are excited to once again be led by an instructor from The Collective STL, a vibrant group of Black yoga and wellness instructors, fully committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Black communities in St. Louis.  

Thursday, January 19th at 12:00pm -1:00 pm – Amplifying Community Voices for Black Joy and Healing 

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” 

The Collective STL self-describes as a “love story in the making!” Their goal? “is to create a space where Black people in St. Louis have adequate access to health and wellness spaces, spaces that center their (our) identities and experiences, spaces that are warm and welcoming, and spaces that build community. We believe that the responsibility of the health and wellness of Black people in St. Louis is the responsibility of the collective; we are all The Collective.”  

We will host Dr. Terry Harris from The Collective STL who will tell the story of this incredible organization’s mission, creation, and why it’s so important.  

Dr. Harris connects Black history and Storytelling in all of his classes as a reminder of the strength, courage and wisdom of the contributions of Black people worldwide. In addition to the yoga modality, Dr. Harris incorporates Restorative Justice/Circles to create healing spaces.   

Friday, January 20th at 10:15am – 11:30am – WUSM Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Update –Virtual Event

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

MLK Week 2023 will conclude with Dr. Sherree Wilson, Associate Vice Chancellor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Washington University School of Medicine, and others from the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion sharing the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion work on the Medical Campus. We are all excited to share updates about recent successes and provide an overview of what is ahead. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and how you can get involved or support our work on campus.  

As always we encourage you to mark your calendars, look out for updates and share these opportunities with your colleagues and partners.  You can look for registration information on events page.

Past Events

See recordings and programs from past Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration events.