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Date(s) - Wednesday, Sep 09
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Student Panelists, Martin Luther King Scholars:

  • David Echeverria (Majoring in Political Science, Minoring in Social Change)
  • Arii Lynton
  • Nicole Sparling (Majoring in Biology and Spanish, Minoring in Social Change)

Moderator: Cherie Dawson-Edwards, PhD, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Institutions of higher learning are known as crucibles for social conflict and change. Although they are often at the forefront of progressive thought and action, they are also protectors of privilege and the status quo. The University of Louisville is no exception. Although educators often play a role in the fight for social change, historically, it’s the students who have created lasting change by forcing the hands of those in power.

This year in Louisville has been like no other in recent history. The nation’s and the world’s eyes are on Louisville, Kentucky, as thousands of people unite in peaceful protests against ongoing racial injustice and state-sanctioned violence. The recent brutal killing of Breonna Taylor and other unarmed Black people by police has led to rallying cries across the globe of “Say Her Name” and “No Justice, No Peace.” These demands for change are being led by young people, and many of those young people are our students. Four such leaders are Maliya Homer, Nicole Sparling, Arii Lynton, and David Echeverria – all Martin Luther King Scholars at UofL. Through a moderated discussion, these four student scholars and activists will discuss their experiences, their educations, what’s getting them up in the morning, what keeping them up at night, and what they expect to change as a result of their work.


About the Martin Luther King Scholars Program:  The Martin Luther King Scholars participate in an engaging leadership development program while enrolled at the University of Louisville. This mentored scholar program includes a scholarship, which is awarded annually to ten African American or Latino high school graduates from Kentucky or Southern Indiana. MLK Scholars participate in a program designed to develop critical thinking skills, engage in self-exploration, and establish an appreciation for civic engagement. MLK Scholars live in an Honors Service Living Learning community throughout their first year, enroll in courses focused on social justice and peace studies, engage in experiential learning through community service initiatives, and, during the second year, participate in a civil rights immersion travel experience. The program includes full in-state tuition plus an $8,000 stipend to cover other university expenses. A minimum high school GPA of 3.5 and ACT score of 26 (SAT 1230) are required to apply.

About the moderator Cherie Dawson-Edwards, PhD: Dr. Cherie Dawson-Edwards is the newly appointed Associate Dean of Diversity & Community Engagement of the College of Arts & Sciences, beginning October 1.  She is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and director of the Social Change minor. Dr. Dawson-Edwards holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Science in Justice Administration from UofL. Her research and teaching interests center on the intersection of public policy and criminal justice with a specific focus on schools and juvenile justice. Dr. Dawson-Edwards is a National Board Member for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and serves on the Executive Committee of American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU-KY). Dr. Dawson-Edwards is also a recipient of the 2016 College of Arts & Sciences Community Service Award.


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