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Keynote speaker for MLK Week announced

This year’s Martin Luther King Week (MLK Week) planning committee is pleased to announce its keynote speaker for 2023: Melissa Wood Bartholomew. Dr. Bartholomew is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Harvard Divinity School (HDS) where she also teaches. A Christ-centered minister and a racial justice and healing practitioner, she is a dynamic and inspiring speaker and was the planning committee’s top choice for keynote this year.

“Dr. Bartholomew has an amazing breadth of knowledge and experience—from law and education to racial justice and the power of love and healing,” says Pamela Bishop, MLK Week committee chair and director of marketing & communications in Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion. She points to Bartholomew’s research on systems of oppression and societal transformation and adds “she is an obviously strong choice for this year’s events and we’re so excited she accepted our invitation.” The theme for MLK week in 2023 is “Choose Love Over Hate,” a focus that seemed to be a perfect fit for the keynote speaker.

An attorney with nearly a decade of experience serving as an Assistant Attorney General in Seattle, Dr. Bartholomew has served in the Northwest Justice Project and is committed to a multifaith, multidisciplinary, Afrocentric approach to healing justice rooted in the African philosophy of Ubuntu, restorative justice, and love. She’s written widely on the prison system and its impact on communities of color, the power of political movements, and the legacy of slavery in the US. She’s also studied restorative justice in Rwanda and transformational leadership in Ghana and teaches as part-time faculty at Boston College where she leads courses in restorative justice at the School of Law and diversity in the School of Social Work.

Dr. Bartholomew will deliver her keynote address on Thursday, January 19 at noon in the Union Saltair and via livestream. To learn more about the various events and activities planned for the University of Utah’s MLK Week, please visit the MLK Week website.