LaTosha Brown, a leader in national efforts to build Black political engagement and expand voter access, will be the keynote speaker at Oregon State University’s 40th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Jan. 17, 2022.

“LaTosha Brown’s nationally recognized work to advance civil rights and enfranchise communities could not be more relevant or necessary within our current national context,” said Scott Vignos, interim vice president and chief diversity officer at Oregon State. “We are incredibly excited to host Brown at OSU and provide opportunities for students, faculty and community members to engage with her expertise.”

Brown is the co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund and the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. These initiatives are designed to boost Black voter registration and turnout, as well as increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities.

Her keynote address is at 11 a.m. at the LaSells Stewart Center at OSU’s Corvallis campus. It will also be livestreamed. It is free to attend or watch virtually, but registration is required.

The keynote address will be preceded by a peace breakfast at 9 a.m. at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center on the Corvallis campus. It celebrates the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and honors members of the OSU community who carry on the themes of his messages and work. The breakfast is free and open to OSU community members and invited guests. Registration is also required.

A peace march will follow the keynote address. An OSU tradition, the march is an opportunity for community members to join in solidarity and reflect on King’s legacy of creating transformative change through non-violence. The march will begin at 12:30 p.m. from the front patio of the LaSells Stewart Center and end at the Memorial Union. No registration is required to take part in the march.

Brown has contributed to The New York Times op-ed page and served as an Institute of Politics fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

She also helps lead a regional network called the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium, a 10-year, $100-million initiative to invest in organizations that serve Black women and girls. The consortium aims to create a new approach to philanthropy by allowing every component of the program, inception to execution, to be created by Black girls and women in the South.

In addition to Brown’s address and other activities on Jan. 17, this year’s OSU celebration includes the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, led by the university’s Community Engagement & Leadership office, on Jan. 15 and other virtual and in-person events on campus throughout that week.

This celebration is sponsored by Oregon State University, the Office of Institutional Diversity, the OSU Foundation, and the OSU Alumni Association.

All in-person events will adhere to local health and OSU guidelines related to COVID-19. In alignment with university policy, proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of this event (in the form of a paper or electronic copy) will be required for attendance. Additionally, face coverings are required except when actively eating or drinking.

Article was originally published by The Corvallis Advocate.