“Thriving in the Current Times” served as the theme for this year’s two-week-long Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. “Thriving involves the wisdom of the community,” LeAnna Rice, director of the ALANA Cultural Center and chair of the MLK Committee, said during the keynote introduction.

Delivering the keynote and offering her wisdom, author and poet Nikki Giovanni spoke to an audience of more than 300 on Jan. 31. Giovanni spoke with candor and compassion for the human condition. “Sometimes people forget that to be black is a wonderful thing,” she said. “Life is about joy; do something that makes you happy, do your job no matter how small it may seem. Our job is to make life a little better.”

In keeping with this theme, the committee organized workshops aimed at promoting healing and self-care, as well as events focused on career and networking for people of color.

Other events included a discussion on student activism led by Bennie Guzman ’17 and a workshop led by the Hamilton Area Anti-Racism Coalition. Participants shared their experiences in navigating race in Hamilton, N.Y., and contributed to an action plan for anti-racism work in the community.

The curators of the Longyear Museum of Anthropology and the Picker Art Gallery, Christy DeLair and Nicholas West, hosted a discussion on “Envisioning Thriving Museums.” Students, faculty, and staff gathered to explore strategies for increasing diversity and creating inclusive museums.