As we approach what would have been the 87th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Jan. 15, it is a privilege to once again honor the memory of the slain civil rights leader. As the law school has done for the past several years, WMU-Cooley will suspend classes on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. In place of the day’s normal schedule, a variety of activities are being planned at each of the law school’s campuses to pay homage to the life and work of Dr. King.
In Lansing and Tampa Bay, the law school will hold its annual day of service in which students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in service projects benefiting the community. In Grand Rapids, activities will include an essay contest where participants will be invited to write six-word essays on Dr. King and his impact on the nation. At the school’s Auburn Hills campus, a panel featuring community activists, law enforcement officials, criminal defense attorneys, and the ACLU, will discuss “Death by Police: Justifiable Homicide or Excessive Use of Force.”
During the week, students will also be invited to take the Pro Bono Pledge and consider how pro bono service will enhance their legal careers.
As we celebrate Dr. King’s life and work, it is worth revisiting his famous “I Have a Dream” speech given in Washington, D.C., on August 23, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. King gave an earlier version of the speech in Detroit in June 1963. Nearly everyone knows about the famous speech, but one must read it in its entirety to understand its power, its majesty, and the force and urgency that it still carries today.
Dr. King’s estate, which holds the copyright to the speech, has licensed it so that it can be read and heard. WMU-Cooley Law School urges you to read and listen to it: I Have a Dream. For more information about Dr. King’s speech, to obtain a copy of the video, or to read more about Dr. King, we recommend that you go to Martin Luther King Online and to the website of The King Center.