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Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020

Each year we invite students, staff, and faculty to join us for one of several opportunities to serve in the community and learn about civil rights in Richmond. The University also hosts an annual commemoration event featuring student performances and an inspirational keynote speaker.

The Fierce Urgency of Now

The work of Dr. King remains unfinished, and the University has committed to thoughtfully considering what his vision means today. On Mon., Jan. 20, 2020, the University will again observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by canceling classes and observing the holiday for employees.

Students, staff, and faculty will have opportunities to serve in the community and come together at the end of the day to enjoy the annual all-campus commemoration as a time to reflect on what Dr. King's dream means today. Many thanks to University Museums and the Center for Civic Engagement for your efforts in helping plan this year's activities.

MLK Day Overview

Schedule of Events 

Sun., Jan. 19

1:30 p.m.
Flint: The Poisoning of an American City will be shown for free at the Byrd Theatre. There is no cost to see the film, but registration is requested. This film is recommended for those over 13 and is co-sponsored by the Community Foundation, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement.

Mon., Jan. 20

11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Service Opportunities in the community or on campus are available for any member of the UR community. Volunteer with the Library of Virginia, the East End Cemetery, or Soles for Souls. Click here to register or for more info.

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
MLK Family Day, a program featuring fun activities such as dance, music, and crafts, that help children, ages 2-12, understand the meaning of the civil rights movement. 
Modlin Center for the Arts
(registration requested)

1:00 p.m.
A New Day Has Come: What Are We Learning About our Past?
Following President Crutcher’s charge to examine how the University of Richmond can be a more inclusive institution and the results of the President’s Commission on University History and Identity last June, Dr. Lauranett Lee has been engaged to lead a team of researchers in an examination of our past.  In this program, the presenters will share their recently released findings about a burial ground on the campus and the history of the land where the University now sits.
Wilton Center Multifaith Room

3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
All-Campus Commemoration Ceremony, featuring student and community performances.
Camp Concert Hall

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Modlin Center for the Arts

Service Opportunities

Day of Service/MLK Family Day

Day of Service

11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Many thanks to the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement for co-sponsoring these service sites at which students, staff, and faculty may serve during the Day of Service. Explore all opportunities here, or use the project links below to register for the Day of Service.

On-campus Family Day!
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Ancarrow's Landing Cleanup
East End Cemetery Project

Each activity can accommodate a limited number of volunteers so registration is required. Transportation is provided for most opportunities.

Due to the rally scheduled to take place near the Capitol, please note that it is likely to take longer to travel to some sites than expected.

MLK Family Day

11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.

MLK Family Day will present creative learning opportunities around MLK Day and civil rights history for children ages 2-12, in the Modlin Center for the Arts. Activities will include a civil rights sing-a-long, arts and crafts, empowering dance, and much more. We are grateful for the partnership of the University Museums for their assistance in presenting MLK Family Day. Plenty of free parking is available in the lot next to the Modlin Center, 453 Westhampton Way. 

Volunteers will be needed to lead the children's activities, set up and clean up the venue, and to staff the registration table.

If you would like to volunteer at MLK Family Day please do so here.

If you would like to bring some children to MLK Family Day, please register here.

Commemoration Ceremony

The Fierce Urgency of Now

Mon., Jan. 20, 2020 | 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Camp Concert Hall

Reception to follow in Booth Lobby, Modlin Center for the Arts


  • Keynote address by Pastor Vernon Gordon of Life Church RVA
  • Student performers/speakers include:
    • N'goma
    • NPHC
    • Shira Greer
    • Anthony Thomassey
    • Drew Strong
  • Hosted by Gabrielle Armon-Wickers and Will Walker

About the speaker:

Pastor Vernon Gordon    

Vernon L. Gordon III is the Lead Pastor of The Life Church located in Richmond, VA. Launched in 2015, TLC is an outreach driven community dedicated to diversity and innovative discipleship. In addition to Pastoring, Vernon also serves on the Virginia Commission for Racial Reconciliation, as a Team Leader for Lott Carey Foreign Missions Network, on the Board of Directors for Uptick Leadership Network, and on the Board of Visitors for Duke Divinity School.

In the fall of 2015, Vernon released his first book, “In The Beginning: A healthy start to a strong finish”. A look at 10 foundational principles of faith development, designed to give readers practical insight on growing in their Christian journey.

Vernon attended Virginia Commonwealth University where he majored in Clinical Exercise Science, and in 2013 he obtained his Masters in Divinity from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Vernon is married to Ashley Gordon and has two children, Madison and