Ball State University’s Multicultural
Center has announced the
schedule of events for Unity
Week 2023, which kicks off on Jan.
16—this year’s official observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“Unity Week is designed to
educate, celebrate, and promote diversity, inclusivity, and solidarity in an
evolving social climate,” said Gabrielle
Lloyd, interim director of the
Multicultural Center. “2023 marks the 45th anniversary of the Unity Week
celebration at Ball State University. This year's theme is ‘Be real. Be you.
Unlock your full potential.’ We want to offer students, faculty, staff, and the
Muncie community members the opportunity to learn from those around them and
reflect on how their own lived experiences shape who they are and how they view
Events on Jan. 16 include the
Dr. MLK Jr. Breakfast, hosted by Ball State and the Collective Coalition of
Concerned Clergy. The Breakfast—open to everyone, at no cost—will be held at Ball
Pittenger Student Center, 2000 W.
University Ave. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Breakfast is available at 9 a.m.
Speaking at the Breakfast
will be Dr.
Rashida Willard, associate
vice president of Inclusive Excellence at Ball State. The theme of the event is
“Continuing the March: Pursuing the Dream.”
Following the Breakfast
and keynote address, attendees will participate in the MLK Unity March from the
Student Center to the Shafer Bell Tower, scheduled to start promptly at 11:30 a.m.
and followed by student performances at University Green.
The Martin Luther King Jr.
Evening Celebration, also slated for Jan. 16, begins at 7 p.m. at Union
Missionary Baptist Church, 1100 N. Macedonia Ave., in Muncie. Guest speaker for
the evening celebration is Dr. Kevin D. Woodgett of The Church Of The Living.
There will be special music performances by The MLK Community Choir.
Another highlight of Unity
Week 2023 will be featured speaker Chloe Barnes, Lead for Curation Standards (Representation
and Inclusion) at Twitter. She will speak at 7 p.m. on Jan. 17 at Pruis
Hall on Ball State’s main campus in Muncie. There
is no cost to attend Ms. Barnes’ speech, which is open to everyone.
Ms. Barnes, a Ball State
graduate, has also been an entrepreneur, facilitator, podcaster, and a DE&I
(diversity, equity, and inclusion) advocate. At Twitter, Ms. Barnes’ many
duties include the development of initiatives that help Twitter improve its
global processes, policies, and programs, and help the social media platform include
diverse and underrepresented voices in Twitter’s curated content.
As an entrepreneur and a
former Division I college basketball player, Ms. Barnes started her first
company, Elle Grace Consulting LLC, in 2017. Elle Grace Consulting worked
alongside organizations to provide coaching, develop curriculum, and facilitate
training designed to help athletes transition into careers in corporate America
or into careers as entrepreneurs once their playing days concluded.
The full schedule of Unity
Week 2023 events is as follows (highlighted events are open only to those
affiliated with Ball State—the university’s students, faculty and staff):
• Dr. MLK Jr. Breakfast, Student Center Cardinal Hall, 9 a.m./Doors
open at 8:30 a.m. Featuring keynote speaker Dr. Rashida Willard (Event
will be livestreamed at www.bsu.edu/live)
• MLK Unity March, Starting from Student Center and ending
at the Bell Tower (followed by student performances at University Green), 11:30
Tuesday, January 17
• Speaker, Chloe Barnes, Pruis Hall, 7 p.m. (Event
will be livestreamed at www.bsu.edu/live)
Wednesday, January 18
• Disability Services Training, Forum
Room, 3 p.m.
• Speaker, Samuel Sirmons (On-Air Radio Personality
and Executive Producer; Ball State graduate); Lecture Topic: “Black
Media is Media: Preserving the Voice of African American Journalists,” 4 p.m.
at the Unified Media Lab in the Art and Journalism Building – 2nd
• Queer Monologues, Pruis
Hall, 8 p.m.
Thursday, January 19
Student Union Sushi Night, Multicultural Center’s Multipurpose Room, 5 p.m.
• Ball State University Housing and
Residence Life (HRL)’s Habitat for Humanity Service Project, 1-4 p.m.
Friday, January 20
Student Center, Cardinal Hall, 7 p.m.
• Friday Night Film Works, Stranger at the Gate, Pruis Hall, 9 p.m.,
as part of Reel Inclusion: A Film Series. The film
is 30 minutes long and includes images of explosions, and descriptions of
violence and hate toward Muslims. Dr. Matthew Hotham, assistant
professor of Religious Studies, will facilitate a panel discussion afterwards.
The discussion will include Bibi Bahrami and Richard McKinney, both featured in the film, as well as Joshua
Seftel, the director.
Saturday, January 21
• Beneficence Leadership Conference,
Student Center, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
• Unify the Night, Student
Center, 8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Sunday, January 22
• Black Student Association Unity Pageant, Pruis Hall, 7 p.m.
Unity Week, which is
coordinated each year by the Multicultural Center with cooperation from campus
partners and student organizations, dates back to 1978. Learn more about the
history of this event—plus, the history of the Multicultural Center—through the
freely-accessible online digital exhibit, The
Ball State University Multicultural Center: Ambassadors of Campus Inclusion and
exhibit was curated by the Archives and Special Collections division of Ball
Week 2023 is co-sponsored by Ball State University’s Asian
Student Union; Black
Student Association; College
of Communication, Information, and Media;
Collective Coalition of Concerned Clergy, a community-based organization in
Muncie; plus Ball State’s Housing and Residence Life; Latinx
Student Union; Office
of the President; Office of Student Life; Spectrum; Student
Center Programs; and University Libraries.