Day of service kicks off MLK Social Justice Week

Pitt’s MLK Social Justice Week will kick off on Jan. 16 — the day celebrating the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. — with a day of service open to students, faculty and staff.

Volunteers can sign up for a variety of projects — all indoors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — including painting; cleaning/beautifying buildings; packing food/hygiene kits; organizing supplies; helping in a food pantry and more. Register here by Jan. 11. Volunteer assignments will be distributed by Jan. 14.

Other activities during the week on the Oakland campus include:

A Night with Nikki Giovanni — 7 p.m. Jan. 17, Connelly Ballroom, Alumni Hall. Giovanni, an internationally known American poet and a retired English professor at Virginia Tech, will discuss the theme of the Social Justice Week — “From Surviving to Thriving: Culturally Relevant Emotional Wellness.” Throughout her career, Giovanni has raised awareness around issues of racism, gender identity and the ways in which minoritized individuals have been oppressed. Clyde Wilson Pickett, Pitt’s vice chancellor for equity, diversity & inclusion, will serve as moderator. This event is sponsored by Pitt’s Office for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion; the Division of Student Affairs; and Year of Emotional Well-Being. Reserve your free ticket for a Night with Nikki Giovanni.

Annual Social Justice Symposium: “From Surviving to Thriving: Culturally Relevant Emotional Wellness” — 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 18, William Pitt Union and online. This year’s Social Justice Symposium will focus on themes of inequity, resilience and healing from an intersectional diversity lens. As events across the country and across college campuses continue to highlight social injustice, Pitt staff are tasked with continuing to support the well-being our students and colleagues, particularly those with marginalized identities. Join in conversations around topics surrounding systems of oppression, traum, and isolation, but also around recovery, community connection, and mutual aid that can help sustain our own emotional wellness as well as those we work to support on a daily basis. Register for the symposium.

The Creating a Just Community Award and UPSIDE Award Luncheon — 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 19, Assembly Room, William Pitt Union. The Creating a Just Community Award debuted in 2014. It recognizes Pitt faculty and staff members who have made outstanding efforts to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive University community. Since 2016, the UPSIDE Award — the University Prize for Strategic, Inclusive, and Diverse Excellence — has been presented each year to a school, division, initiative or program area that has made an outstanding effort toward increasing diversity and inclusion. Register for the award luncheon.

Screening: “On These Grounds” — Jan. 19: 4:30 p.m., reception, followed at 5 p.m. with screening and discussion, Alumni Hall auditorium, seventh floor. The School of Social Work and the Black Girl Equity Alliance, with support from an OEDI Seed Grant, will screen the film “On These Grounds,” which centers around a viral video of a white police officer in South Carolina pulling a Black teenager from her school desk and throwing her across the floor. A discussion will follow including Vivian Anderson (an activist featured in the film); Niya Kenny (a teen activist in the film); Ghadah Makoshi, community advocate with ACLU of Pittsburgh; and Kathi Elliott, CEO of Gwen’s Girls and the convener of the Black Girl Equity Alliance. The discussion will focus on police in schools, anti-Black Violence, misogynoir, and equity in education. More information

“How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?” screening and community dialogue — Jan. 20: Reception, 5 p.m.; film screening, 5:30 p.m.; community dialogue, 7 p.m., Frick Fine Arts auditorium. The Center on Race and Social Problems is hosting a film screening and community dialogue on the film “How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?” This award-winning documentary traces the phenomenon of othering in America and situates the Black Lives Matter movement in historical, philosophical and political context. The title of the documentary is based on W.E.B. DuBois' famous question that he raised in his seminal book, “The Souls of Black Folk.” The film's writer, J.W. Wiley, and director, Thomas Keith, will be present to engage the audience in a post-screening dialogue regarding the creation process, content, and impact of the documentary. Register for “How Does it Feel to be a Problem.”