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MLK Week

Martin Luther King Jr. Awareness Week

2019 MLK Art Collaborations

Born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister, civil-rights activist, and an advocate for race relations in the United States. Through King's activism and inspirational speeches, he played an essential role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the U.S., as well as spurring the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honors. King was assassinated in April 1968 and continues to be remembered as one of the most influential and inspirational African-American leaders in history.

2018 MLK Awards: Refuge Lowell art project

At UMass Lowell, we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. through events centered on community action, engagement, and social justice awareness. This week occurs at the end of January leading into Black History Month in February. The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) has collaborated annually with local elementary and middle schools such as Stoklosa Middle School students who submitted poetry encompassing the MLK Week theme.  Refuge Lowell, an art center that assists children and teens in developing their creativity and compiling a portfolio for art school applications provided beautiful pieces of art along with St. Patrick's School who created art pieces for our Annual MLK Week Dinner.

In addition, we also offered events and programming throughout the week relating to MLK such as:

  • Faculty/Staff Social
  • Community Service Event
  • MLK Dinner
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holding a Nobel Peace prize. In 1964 Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his dynamic leadership of the Civil Rights movement and steadfast commitment to achieving racial justice through nonviolent action.

Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Week

Each year, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Awards are presented to University of Massachusetts-Lowell faculty, staff, students, and community leaders. These awards honor the contributions of individuals who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to social change, service, and community engagement.

Nominees should exemplify the dream, vision and work of late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK 2021 Theme: Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere

UML Library: MLK LIBGUIDE: A digital resource that provides online access to texts, images, and audio/video files showcasing Dr. King’s legacy, civil rights movement, and more

Thursday, January 28 
10th MLK Distinguish Service Awards
5-8 p.m. on Hopin
Access the event here:
Join us for our annual celebration honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  and the MLK Service Awards followed by the viewing of BLM Virtual Art Gallery sponsored by the Student Art Union and the Black Student Union.

Additional Events

Friday, January 29 
Movie Watch Party: One Night in Miami
6-8 p.m.
Co-hosted with Black Student Union (Watch party link to follow).

For more information or help with RSVPing to these events, please email us by email:

"No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK 2020 Sabrina

Second from left, Associate Professor of Biomedical & Nutritional Sciences and Director for Community Engagement, and Center for Population Health Sabrina Feldeisen, received her faculty-staff award for her community-engaged research. 

MLK 2020 - Distinguished Service Awards

Faculty/Staff: Sabrina Noel Feldeisen, Ph.D., R.D.

Sabrina's service was different because she takes the time to build a supportive community that will successfully carry out necessary research initiatives to improve the health of the local and national population. She built a team of community leaders from Lowell, and faculty and students from both UML and the University of New Hampshire to lead ground breaking research that will enhance the potential for successful community programming to increase access to healthful foods and reduce stress among Cambodian adults living in Lowell. Her research project attracted attention from the UML Office of Sustainability in studying perceptions of adults using local farmers markets. These small, ancillary studies will build local collaborations that will create culturally-relevant farmers markets in Lowell, providing fresh, healthy foods to underserved communities and bolster local business. The research initiatives the nominee directs have led to numerous new jobs that she makes sure are available to people within the community. In this way, the community members are hired for work done and everyone feels a true sense of partnership to better the world around them.

2020 MLK winner Marbella
Second to left Nursing student of Honor’s College, Class of 2020 receiving her student award.

Student: Marbella Leal 

Marbella has contributed at Lowell Transitional Living Center (LTLC) and the Partner in Achievement for Lowell Students (PALS) mentoring program at Lowell High School. In Fall 2019, she pursued her desire to complete her Senior Honors Project at Lowell Transitional Living Center. After exploring several possibilities, she decided to concentrate on creating an educational workshop and brochure about intimate partner violence (IPV). Working with her mentor, Professor Margaret Knight at the Solomont School of Nursing, this student noticed a strong connection between IPV and homelessness, and upon her own initiative, decided to find a way to provide resources so that clients at LTLC could recognize the danger of these situations and know how to access help. To do this, she visited with women in the LTLC women's shelter, listened carefully to their stories, designed her own informational brochure, and distributed copies. Since I first met this student, she has shown tremendous initiative, innovation, and passion for providing useful assistance at both Lowell Transitional Living Center and the PALS program. In particular, her ability to build on her initial service with the health clinic at LTLC in spring 2018 by returning in Fall 2019 to do a health education project on Intimate Partner Violence is especially striking. All too often, service projects end in just one semester - by continuing her involvement over time, she was able to provide more effective service. 

MLK 2020 Crista free soil winner
Second from left Christa Brown, founder of the Free Soil Arts Collective theater company, received the community award.

Community Organization: Free Soil Arts Collective

Free Soil Arts Collective is well known around the city of Lowell and is making a great impact on the community. This was created because "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men" was a rallying cry of the civil rights movement. In the same vein that those who worked the soil deserved to be free, it is the belief of the Free Soil Arts Collective that those who come from underrepresented populations, have the right to tell their own stories. This organization provides opportunities for community theater for people of color and underrepresented populations. Most recently been working with children from the Collegiate Charter School of Lowell, who will perform an original piece that will debut during Black History Month. 

See past winners

UMass Lowell 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week


The Office of Multicultural Affairs invites you to submit original artwork to celebrate UMass Lowell’s 9th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Week Monday, January 27 through Friday, January 31, 2020. We gather our community through week-long events to commemorate and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art has been an integral aspect of the UMass Lowell celebration and this year we are excited to invite the campus community to participate.

This year’s theme was submitted by a campus community member and it is focused on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work on economic justice. We are looking for artwork (photos or canvas art that speaks broadly to economic justice or an interpretation of some key historical events including but not limited to:

  • 1956 Montgomery Strike
  • The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
  • 1964 Scripto Pen Factory Strike
  • 1967-1968 The Poor People’s Campaign
  • 1968 Memphis Sanitation Worker’s Strike


  • Medium(s): We will be accepting art that can be displayed on easels or canvases.
  • Works in the following categories may be submitted: painting, drawing, mixed, collage, photography
  • Canvas dimensions 8”x10”: If you are using this medium, the Office of Multicultural Affairs can provide the canvas. Please email for more information.
  • All entries should reflect on the theme of the UMass Lowell 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week - “All Labor Has Dignity: Celebrating 125 Years of Labor and History at UMass Lowell”
  • Entries should include artist name, student id #, email address, phone number, brief artist background, title, and description of artwork.


All art pieces will need to be received by Tuesday, January 21, 2019, and can be delivered to the Office of Multicultural Affairs – University Crossing 366. Artwork will be displayed in University Crossing Moloney Hall starting on January 28 through the end of February. All participants are welcome to join the campus community during the MLK Dinner on January 28 where the artwork will be officially unveiled. The Office of Multicultural Affairs will return artwork at the end of the display period.


If you are interested in participating please email: Elsie Otero at


Contact Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs Francine Coston by email at:

To see pictures from our 2020 MLK ceremony, please visit our Facebook page.

Watch our 2016 community collaboration with Murkland Elementary: "Lenses of Civil Right: Intersections of Struggle and Progress."

Previous Collaborations

Watch the video of the 2017 MLK celebration!

Enjoy this video highlighting previous collaborations that produced the art featured during our Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Distinguished Service Awards Dinners!