UC Irvine students march in solidarity with Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream
UC Irvine students march in solidarity with Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream during 2007 event. Sherwynn Umali / UC Irvine

Civil rights attorney Lani Guinier will deliver the annual Joseph White Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, in the Student Center’s Crystal Cove Auditorium, capping a four-day celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. She will talk about her hopes for the Obama administration and its potential impact on civil rights.

Guinier gained public prominence in 1993 when President Clinton nominated her to head the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. She would have been the first black woman to hold the post, but her views on affirmative action, gender equity and racial districting of voters alienated key legislators, who convinced Clinton to withdraw her nomination without a confirmation hearing.

An alumna of Radcliffe College and Yale Law School, she joined the Harvard Law School faculty in 1998, becoming the first tenured black female professor in the school’s history.

“We are excited to have Lani Guinier on campus to speak for the MLK Jr. Symposium,” said Kevin Huie, director of the Cross-Cultural Center, which is co-sponsoring the event. “She will visit UCI immediately after the inauguration and plans to share her thoughts about hope for change in the area of civil and human rights.”

Other co-sponsors are UCI Student Housing, Office of the Dean of Students, the School of Law, Division of Undergraduate Education, Academic Affairs and Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

The four-day schedule of events includes:

  • Monday, Jan. 19, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: In remembrance of King, Americans across the country will honor his legacy of tolerance, peace and equality by meeting community needs and making the holiday a “day on” rather than a “day off.” At UCI, service sites include Community Action Partnership, 9-11 a.m., assembling food boxes for the hungry; and Second Harvest Food Bank, 1-3 p.m., harvesting for the hungry. For more information, contact the Center for Service in Action, 949-824-3500.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 20, 6 p.m.: Nonviolent Resistance: A teach-in discussing King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, featuring African American studies assistant professor Tiffany Jean Willoughby-Herard, will be presented in Arroyo Vista’s Community Recreation Room. Discussion will center on King, his message of nonviolent resistance, and the social and political themes of his most publicly recognized speech.
  • 6:30 p.m.: “Come Walk in My Shoes,” a film about the Honorable John R. Lewis, will screen in Middle Earth’s Tolkien Room, Pippin Dining Commons. The documentary of archival film, historic photographs and music recorded at mass meetings vividly brings Lewis’ recollections to life as he leads colleagues from the House and Senate on an emotional pilgrimage to sites of the civil rights movement in Alabama.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 21, noon:The annual Martin Luther King Jr. March will begin at the flagpoles outside Aldrich Hall and continue around Ring Mall. A rally at the Anteater Plaza flagpoles will follow the march.8:30 p.m.: “Come Walk in My Shoes” will screen in Mesa Court’s Multipurpose Room.
  • Thursday, Jan. 22, 7 p.m.: The Joseph White Lecture featuring civil rights attorney Lani Guinier: The celebration of King’s life and expression of hope for the future will begin at 7 p.m. in Crystal Cove Auditorium, UCI Student Center. Free tickets are available in advance at the Cross-Cultural Center or by calling 949-824-0644.