In honor of the life and achievements of civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was born on this date in 1929, Southwestern University is hosting its annual Dream Week Monday, January 20, 2020–Friday, January 24, 2020. The University will be closed on Monday in observance of the national holiday but will follow with a schedule of educational and cultural events sponsored by the Office of Diversity Education, the Race and Ethnicity Studies Program, the Coalition for Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ), and the Division of Student Life.

The programming kicks off with a panel on Tuesday titled “The More You Know about Racism,” in which students from the umbrella campus organization CDSJ will engage in a discussion, including a Q&A open to audience members, about how race and racism have affected their college experience. A special focus will be on the voices of students of color and those who embody multiple marginalized identities.

On Wednesday, January 22, Southwestern will welcome professor, speaker, and human-rights activist David Pilgrim as this year’s MLK keynote speaker. Pilgrim is the author of Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors: Stories from the Jim Crow Museum (PM Press, 2017) and Understanding Jim Crow: Using Racist Memorabilia to Teach Tolerance and Promote Social Justice (PM Press, 2015). Both books introduce audiences to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, of which Pilgrim is the founder, director, and curator. Located at Ferris State University, in Big Rapids, Michigan, the collection includes more than 10,000 contemptible items that document the systemic attempt to dehumanize Black Americans through the practices of prejudice, discrimination, and segregation. Pilgrim uses the exhibitions as teaching tools to educate audiences and initiate productive, meaningful conversations about race relations, which he hopes, in turn, will inspire cross-racial healing and positive change. 

On Thursday, January 23, the annual Race and Ethnicity Studies Symposium will be headlined by Cristina Alcade, the Marie Rich Endowed Professor of gender and women’s studies and associate dean of inclusion and internationalization at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. Alcade’s talk, “Peruvian Lives across Borders: Power, Exclusion, and Home,” promises a nuanced, theoretically daring reading of the gender, race, and class hierarchies maintained by middle- and upper-class Peruvians who have migrated to the U.S., Canada, and Germany. The Symposium will also include the Eastside Artisans Project, an exhibition of the artwork of high-school students from the local Georgetown community.

Southwestern’s Dream Week will conclude on Friday with a multifaith service and luncheon at the Lois Perkins Chapel as well as a Friday Night Live stand-up set by the energetic Austin comedian Jasmine Ellis. 

For more information about Dream Week events, please contact Assistant Dean of Student Multicultural Affairs Terri Johnson at or 512.863.1342.