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.

2023 Keynote Speaker: Andrea Jenkins

At the start of every Spring semester we come together as a community to honor the civil rights legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s MLK Commemoration will be held on Friday, February 3rd from 12:15 pm -1:15pm in Crowell Concert Hall (60 Wyllys Avenue) with a reception to follow the ceremony in Usdan 108.  This year our keynote speaker will be writer, activist, and Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins (Wikipedia page link)

Jenkins is the first Black transgender woman to be elected to public office in the United States. She was elected to the council with 73% of the vote.  Before being elected, Jenkins worked for twelve years as a policy aide to two members of the Minneapolis City Council and subsequently served as the oral historian for the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota Libraries, documenting the lived experiences of transgender and gender nonconforming people in the Upper Midwest and the United States.

She holds a master’s degree in Community Development from Southern New Hampshire University, a MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and a Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Services from Metropolitan State University. She is a nationally and internationally recognized writer and artist, a 2011 Bush Fellow to advance the work of transgender inclusion, and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. In 2018 she completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University.

A poet and artist as well as a public official, Andrea is the author of the poetry collection The T is Not Silent: New and Selected Poems (Purple Lioness Press, 2015) and contributor to the acclaimed anthologies Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose and Pride (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2019), A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2016), and Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015).

This event was made possible through the generous contributions of The Resource Center, Office for Equity and Inclusion, Department of African American Studies and the Center for African American Studies, Department of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Dozoretz Fund, and the Olin Library.  If you have any questions about the event, please don’t hesitate to contact Demetrius Colvin at