No classes and a free breakfast in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life start off the week-long celebration of the 37th annual Unity Week.

Unity Week begins 9 a.m. Jan. 16 in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Cardinal Hall, with the annual MLK Community Breakfast featuring keynote speaker Ruby Cain. The MLK Unity March will then start at 11 a.m. outside the Multicultural Center.

“Students looking for an opportunity to learn something new, learn about history and meet new people are encouraged to attend the events,” said Bobby Steele, interim director of the Multicultural Center.

Schedule of Events

Jan. 16 — 9-10:30 a.m. MLK Community Breakfast at the Student Center Cardinal Hall.

Jan. 16 — 11 a.m.-12 p.m. MLK Unity March starts at the Multicultural Center.

Jan. 17 — 7:30-8:30 p.m. MLK Speaker, Kevin Powell: "Looking for Martin: Dr. King, Community, Civil Rights, Social Media and the New Activism" at Pruis Hall.

Jan. 18 — 7-9:15 p.m. Film: Loving at Pruis Hall.

Jan. 19 — 6-9 p.m. Tunnel of Oppression at the Student Center Ballroom.

Jan. 20 — 6-8 p.m. Latinopalooza at the Student Center.

Jan. 21 — 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Unity Connections Conference at the Student Center.

All events are free and organized by student organization leaders and professional university staff members, and this year's theme, Steele said, is “Finding Your Voice."

Kevin Powell, whose popular writing has appeared in multiple national publications, will speak in Pruis Hall at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17. Events throughout the rest of the week include interactive simulation stations designed to help people understand contemporary oppression and a film covering an interracial couple’s story about their civil rights case for love that went to the Supreme Court. 

The Latinopalooza talent show and other diversity-related programs will also be presented by undergraduate students at the Unity Connections Conference later in the week, and the Unity Week celebration ends Saturday, Jan. 21 with the Unity Scholarship Pageant. The event is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Pruis Hall.

Da’preielle Fuller, a member of the Black Student Association and the chairman of the Unity Pageant event, said even those who don't identify with a specific minority group should still consider going to the week's events.

“It is not about race or ethnicity, it is about recognizing what makes us all the same,” Fuller said.

Asian American Student Association secretary Minh-thu Dang agreed with Fuller, adding that Unity Week is a chance for everyone at Ball State to come together and learn from each other.

“It is just a lot of fun to show off what the different communities here can do,” Dang said. “College students share these similarities and I really like the connection it brings to students to come together.”

Sponsors of Unity Week include the Multicultural Center, Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, Office of Institutional Diversity, Latinx Student Union, Housing and Residence Life, Spectrum, Black Student Association, Greek Life and the Asian American Student Association.