For several decades Wesleyan has celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The celebration has taken various forms including prominent keynote speakers such as Johnetta Cole and Sonia Sanchez to a campus based program where members of the faculty, staff and students read portions of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

From Hollering to Healing: Black to the Future

All members of the Wesleyan and greater Middletown community are invited to attend the commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on Thursday, February 15th from 12:15 pm -1:15pm in Crowell Concert Hall, followed by a reception in the Malcolm-X House. Free tickets for the event are available to the public at the box office starting on Monday, February 5th.

This year, on the 50th anniversary of King’s death, our keynote speaker will be the CEO and Founder of Joi Unlimited Coaching & Consulting and the Orange Method, Dr. Joi Lewis.  Dr. Joi completed her doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, was a Bush Fellow, conducted research in South Africa, and had a 20+ year career in higher education working as a Dean of Students and Vice Provost, a Vice President of Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer, and as faculty.   

Dr. Joi’s talk is entitled “From Hollering to Healing: Black to the Future.”  Utilizing the Orange Method framework, which is grounded in the deep concept of healing justice to invite, inspire, explore, and unpack the practice of radical self-care as source, site, and agency tool for Black Liberation and Freedom, which is in fact liberation for us all; she will use poetry, song, and stories to illuminate how individuals and institutions transform and move towards true liberation, even against the backdrop of racism and oppression-induced toxic stress and trauma.

She will invite us to draw on the wisdom of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, other amazing activists, and the community to co-create a blueprint for wellness: healthy boundaries, falling in love with our beauty, and healthy expressions of grief, pain and joy that allow us to heal and fall in love with our community and ourselves more deeply—or perhaps for the first time. Despite oppressive socio-political realities, we will encourage ourselves to exercise our agency as US citizens to redefine what has been given to us, and in the process exercise our right and model what it means to be free. The call for Black Agency: Finding Freedom offers us a start, one that is accessible to every human being right where you are; we move from: “Hollering to Healing.”

If you have any questions about the event, please don’t hesitate to contact Demetrius Colvin at dcolvin@wesleyan.edu.