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KU News Release

Jan. 4, 2006
Contact: Santos Núñez, Multicultural Resource Center, (785) 864-4350.

'Walking the Dream' to honor King with Luminaria Walk, speech by Cleaver

LAWRENCE -- Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., will be the featured speaker as the University of Kansas celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The Multicultural Resource Center and the Office of Multicultural Affairs will present "Walking the Dream," a luminaria walk honoring King's legacy, Jan. 23 on Jayhawk Boulevard.

"The Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Multicultural Resource Center are proud of honoring and presenting to the University of Kansas one of the most prominent members of the civil rights movement," said Robert N. Page Jr., director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. "The Martin Luther King Jr. program will showcase the dreams, aspirations and goals of this great civil rights leader."

The luminaria walk will start at 7 p.m. in front of Strong Hall. Participants will walk along Jayhawk Boulevard, reflecting on King's legacy. The evening will end in Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union with a special performance by the Inspirational Gospel Voices and featured speaker Cleaver.

Cleaver has served Kansas City, Mo., both spiritually and politically during his career. Cleaver became the city's first black mayor in March 1991 and was re-elected in March 1995. During his term, he made job creation one of his top priorities. He also worked to improve the landscape and infrastructure of the city. His cultural center at 18th and Vine streets helped revitalize the historic area with highlights of its jazz and baseball history.

Cleaver has also served as senior pastor of the St. James United Methodist Church for the past 25 years. Under his leadership the church has grown from 47 members to 2,000. He earned his master's of divinity from St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo., in 1974 after graduating from Prairie View A&M University with a bachelor's in sociology.

During his political career, Cleaver served two terms as the president of the National Conference of Black Mayors. He was a speaker at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. He has appeared many times on television, including NBC's "Today Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America," and in magazines such as Ebony.

Santos Núñez, program director of the Multicultural Resource Center, said, "This is a great opportunity for the KU community to come together and reflect on the accomplishments of Dr. King as well as to remind ourselves that there is still work to be done to combat hate and injustice."

The Multicultural Resource Center at the University of Kansas was established in 1995 to promote an educational environment that recognizes and celebrates the diverse composition of the Lawrence campus population.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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