celebration dinner

Building Community in an Hour of Chaos #unityatsemo

Freeman Hrabowski portrait

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill (Host of HuffPost Live and BET News and VH1)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Dinner
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Doors open at 5 p.m.
6 p.m., Show Me Center

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is one of the leading intellectual voices in the country. He is currently the host of HuffPost Live, BET News and VH1. An award-winning journalist, Dr. Hill shares a bold vision of the future, where social progress and the pursuit of equality depend on listening to each other while adopting a fearless attitude toward change.

Since his days as a youth in Philadelphia, Dr. Hill has been a social justice activist and organizer. He is a founding board member of My5th, a nonprofit organization devoted to educating youth about their legal rights and responsibilities. He is also a board member and organizer of the Philadelphia Student Union and works closely with the ACLU Drug Reform Project, focusing on drug informant policy. Over the past few years, he has actively worked on campaigns to end the death penalty and to release numerous political prisoners.

Ebony Magazine has named him one of America’s 100 most influential Black leaders. He has received numerous prestigious awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, GLAAD, and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Hill is the author or co-author of four books: the award-winning Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity; The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America; the New York Times bestseller Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on The Vulnerable from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond; and Gentrifier. He has also published two edited books: Media, Learning, and Sites of Possibility; and Schooling Hip-Hop: New Directions in Hip-Hop Based Education.

As a scholar and award-winning author, Dr. Hill expertly dissects political and social moments as a way to initiate frank discussions on culture, politics, and race. By identifying key issues, challenges, controversies, and trends in the news, he spotlights the work that must be done to sustain the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom.

Dr. Hill’s message emphasizes the importance of working across generations to promote America’s youth and even rely on them to inspire future progress. He provides concrete solutions for bringing communities together, along with anecdotes and examples to inspire hope and courage. All are constantly reinforced by his charisma, passion and intellect to audiences around the world.

Brian Owens portrait

Special Guest: Brian Owens

Brian Owens is a vibrantly vintage artist who follows the groove gospel of classic 1960s and 1970s soul with a heavy dose of traditional quartet stylings but has a very “in the now” emotionality. Owens’ vocals are a revelation—purposeful and passionate—recalling the sensual urgency of Marvin Gaye, the comforting falsetto of Curtis Mayfield, and tender grit of Sam Cooke. A resident of Ferguson, Missouri, Owens works tirelessly to uplift the community and provide hope through the gift and beauty of music. Owens has an extensive performance history that includes national television appearances, including Entertainment Tonight, FOX and Friends, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and more. He has also performed at the White House and the World Series, the Peabody Opera House, Powell Hall, and Apollo Theater. In 2017, a YouTube video of him performing “A Change is Gonna Come” went viral and to date has more than 40 million views since October 2017. In addition to serving as the community music artist in residence with the E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Collaborative at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Owens is the Founder, CEO and Executive Director of LIFE Arts Inc. in Ferguson, MO. Owens and his wife, Amanda, have seven children.

Celebration Dinner Sponsorship Information

  • Platinum Level Sponsorship = $3,000 per table
    Entitles your organization to recognition at the dinner, eight passes to the VIP Reception with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and eight dinner tickets.
  • Gold Level Sponsorship = $1,500 per table
    Entitles your organization to recognition at the dinner, four passes to the VIP reception with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and eight dinner tickets.
  • Silver Level Sponsorship = $300 per table
    Entitles your organization to recognition at the dinner and eight dinner tickets.
  • Bronze Level Sponsorship = $250 per table
    Entitles your organization to recognition at the dinner and enables eight high school and community students to attend the dinner.*

* Purchase of a Bronze sponsorship provides tickets for high school and community student use only.  If you are purchasing tickets for your organization, the Silver Sponsorship or higher is recommended.

For more information please contact the MLK Committee at (573) 651-2626 or mlkcommittee@semo.edu.


Online registration is now open. 

External Sponsor Registration
Internal Sponsor Registration

Ticket Information

Individual dinner tables and tickets are available for purchase in the bookstore. Individual dinner tables are $160 and tickets are $20 each. Free individual student tickets will be available for pick up at the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) on the 2nd floor of the University Center while supplies last. Additional student tickets will be $5 each.
For more information please contact Blessy Joseph at (573) 651-2626 or mlkcommittee@semo.edu.


Academic Hall Room 010-011
MLK Celebration
One University Plaza, MS 3375
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701