Celebrate Black History Month with Big Names

Emmanuel Acho, Lil Wayne, Rachel Lindsay, speak to WSU as a part of WSU’s MLK Program



WSU’s MLK program has a wide variety of online events and speakers lined up throughout Jan and Feb.

CAROLYN MCCAMPBELL, Evergreen columnist

What comes to mind when you think of the name Martin Luther King Jr.? Perhaps civil rights, equality or those first few lines from his most famous speech, “I Have A Dream.” As we begin to navigate 2022, nearly two years into the pandemic, MLK day is a good reminder to fight for what is right and persevere through these rough times.

Martin Luther King III, the oldest of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King’s children, is an American human rights activist, according to his website. His latest endeavors include fighting for voting rights for communities of color. The same issues his parents combated over half a century before, according to his Instagram.

America still has work to do to create a place where, in the words of King, people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” 

WSU is hosting a multitude of events and programs for students to attend in January and February.

“The MLK Program is Washington State University’s annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy,” according to the MLK program website. “This programming brings together community members from across the WSU system and celebrates the ways we carry on Dr. King’s spirit through our work.”

Keynote Speaker: A Conversation with Emmanuel Acho

WSU set Emmanuel Acho, Emmy-Award winning Fox Sports analyst and author of the New York Times bestseller “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” to host many of the events. He is also the host and producer of a web series of the same name, which focuses on issues that may make viewers uncomfortable but overall are productive conversations on race relations in modern America.  At 5 p.m. on Feb. 2, Acho will present online as a keynote speaker, according to the MLK program website

Uncomfortable Conversations with Emmanuel Acho: Karens and cancel culture w/ Chelsea Handler. 

The first workshop held online in the “Uncomfortable Conversations with Emmanuel Acho” series is at 1:30 p.m. on Jan 20. Acho, along with best-selling author and comedian Chelsea Handler, will discuss white privilege, the “Karen” trope and cancel culture. 

Uncomfortable Conversations with Emmanuel Acho: Interracial dating and the backlash that comes with it.

Another event hosted by Acho includes “Interracial Dating and the Backlash That Comes With It.” This event is with the first Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay and her husband, as well as Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn and her husband P.K. Subban. The online event is at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Uncomfortable Conversations with Emmanuel Acho: Mental Health doesn’t discriminate w/ Lil Wayne.

Acho will also sit down with Lil Wayne, a five-time Grammy Award-winner to talk about mental health at 12 p.m. on Jan 26. The talk will relate to his struggles with depression and the details on his attempted suicide at age 12. 

“If you, or anyone else you know, has ever struggled with anxiety, depression, loneliness or any other mental health challenges – this is for you,” according to the event’s seminar page. Students can register for this online seminar, and all others with Acho, at events.wsu.edu.

Dr. Xyanthe Neider – Anti-Racism Training

At 11 a.m. Friday, an anti-racism training with Xyanthe Neider will also occur. This workshop will discuss how anti-Black racism was and still is interwoven through “policies, practices and pedagogies.” Neider will also discuss why understanding anti-black racism is inherent to centering oneself in their anti-racism work, according to the website.

Previous Event

On Tuesday, in solidarity with the National Day of Racial Healing and recognizing King, an online workshop titled, “Realizing the Beloved Community at WSU” was held. Participants set clear goals to become change agents for equity and diversity, inclusion, belonging and justice, according to the event’s description. 

Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Rosa Parks and others throughout the 60s and 70s who fought for Black liberation can often feel like great untouchable historical figures. However, we tend to forget that they were also human beings with emotions and flaws, and oftentimes, we never imagine achieving the same amount of change in such little time. These figures are not so different and far removed from ourselves.

In honoring King and other activists of Black liberation, we as future professionals and voters, future congressmen and congresswomen, can be the change. We can be the catalyst to keep fighting for a country that practices what it preaches; that all men are created equal, that all have certain unalienable rights, that those rights include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.