Martin Luther King Jr.
VIDEO: Students discuss the importance of honoring the civil rights leader's legacy through activism and community service. Steve Zylius / University Communications

UC Irvine honored the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a week of speeches, rallies and service projects as part of the 26th annual MLK Symposium, “Reigniting the Dream Through Activism.”

“Helping others through activism and service projects is a way to reduce inequality in our own community and is a fitting tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy,” says Kevin Huie, director of UCI’s Cross-Cultural Center.

Event organizers urged the campus community to make the holiday “a day on, not a day off.” According to Darlene Esparza, director of the university’s Center for Service in Action, 150 volunteers packed nearly 7,000 boxes of food for the hungry at the Community Action Partnership’s warehouse in Garden Grove.

Anti-racism writer and activist Tim Wise delivered the keynote address, “By the Color of Their Skin: The Myth of Post-Racial America.” Past symposium speakers have included civil rights activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and Harvard law professor Lani Guinier.

The Cross-Cultural Center, which sponsors the four-day symposium, provides a network of services to support the personal, social, cultural and academic well-being of UCI’s ethnically and culturally diverse students, faculty and staff.