Presidential Honoree to Speak at Annual MLK Celebration

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The University of West Georgia’s 5th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Program will feature renowned speaker and presidential honoree, Dr. Calvin Mackie. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion will host the program on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7:00 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom. This event is free and open to the public. UWG students will master the ceremony, usher, greet and introduce the speaker.

“Annually, our office develops a theme relating to the principles of Dr. King and warriors of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Deirdre H. Rouse, interim director for the Center of Diversity and Inclusion. “Student involvement is paramount; therefore they continue to have an active role in the yearly Martin Luther King, Jr. Program along with highlighting their community service. Service is vital in our world today. Dr. Mackie, through his numerous innovative and intriguing endeavors is the epitome of service to humanity.”

Mackie, currently a partner in Golden Leaf Energy, which produces and distributes biodiesel from waste streams, is a graduate of Morehouse College and Georgia Institute of Technology. His leadership qualities and social justice advocacy are well documented. In 2005, former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco appointed Mackie to the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the guiding agency to lead the state's rebuilding efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Possessing instant social, political, cultural and technical credibility, Mackie was featured prominently in Spike Lee’s HBO Katrina documentary “When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Parts” (HBO 2006) and its successor “If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise” (HBO 2010).

Mackie has also appeared on numerous national and local news shows including the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer and the Tom Joyner Show. He received international acclaim during and after a 2006 visit to Kuwait as an ambassador of the LRA and guest of the U.S. Embassy, where he appeared on Good Morning Kuwait and was in numerous international Arab newspapers. In 2004, President George W. Bush awarded him the 2003 Presidential Award for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in a White House Ceremony.

“We want to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and the sacrifices he made to give us freedom,” said Doris Kieh, program coordinator for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. “We aim to remind our students about the work of Dr. King. As Dr. King stated, ‘Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.’”

“This year’s theme is ‘Change has Come: What are you doing about it?’” Kieh said. “We believe with all that is taking place in our country and around the world, we definitely need to make positive changes where we are, if we plan to survive.”

For more information, please visit the Center for Diversity and Inclusion website at www.westga.edu/diversity.

Photo: Dr. Calvin Mackie