MLK Day — A time for reflection

Walk the Walk Week begins on King Day, continues in our actions


It will begin, fittingly, at the Hesburgh Library Reflecting Pool, a serene spot on campus designed to encourage serious thought and meditation. A march will be held at midnight, Monday, Jan. 18, to kick off the University’s celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Walk the Walk Week logo

Jan. 18 highlights

Midnight March

  • Begins at the Reflecting Pool
  • Post-march breakfast
    in South Dining Hall

MLK Celebration Luncheon
11:30 a.m.

  • Joyce Center North Dome
  • Ticket required for entry

Community-Building Lunches
11:30 a.m.

  • North and South Dining Halls
  • Student, faculty or staff
    Notre Dame ID required 

5:15 p.m.

  • Basilica of the Sacred Heart
  • Featuring Voices of Faith Gospel Choir

“I hope you will use this occasion to reflect on the values that are so central both to King’s legacy and to Notre Dame’s mission,” the University’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said in a letter to the campus community, describing a series of events taking place from MLK Day on Monday, Jan. 18, through Friday, Jan. 22. The campus-wide observance is being called Walk the Walk Week. The midnight march, and the candlelit prayer service that follows, are the inaugural activities for the week.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to gather at midnight and join the procession from the Reflecting Pool to the Grotto. Following the march and prayer service, the South Dining Hall will serve breakfast.  

“The President’s Oversight Committee on Diversity and Inclusion has led a number of important initiatives over the last two years,” Father Jenkins said. “Based on feedback from students, faculty and staff, the Oversight Committee recommended last spring that we take time as a community on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to both celebrate the diversity that currently exists on our campus and to reflect on how Notre Dame might become even more welcoming and inclusive.”

The march represents the first, literal steps of Walk the Walk Week. But campus organizers say that the real potential of the weeklong observance will come from the personal and communal steps that faculty, staff and students commit to take next in their own lives and areas of influence to promote greater diversity and inclusion at Notre Dame.

Several other University-sponsored events taking place Jan. 18 will also address the question of “What’s your next step?” There will be a luncheon and program at the Joyce Center, a special lunch menu and opportunities for community-building discussions at the campus dining halls, and a Celebration Mass at the Basilica at 5:15 p.m., featuring the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir.

A number of campus departments are also planning programs honoring King’s work throughout the week of Jan. 18, such as a lecture by Rev. Dominic Legge, O.P., titled Martin Luther King Jr., and the Question of “Illegal Laws”: Civil Law, Justice, and Morality; a special viewing of civil rights photographs, including a portrait of King, at the Snite Museum of Art; a dialogue on race relations in the U.S. featuring #BlackLivesMatter movement co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi; a Center for Social Concerns community service fair; a screening of the movie “Selma,” with reflections from Rev. Nicholas Ayo, C.S.C., professor emeritus in the Program of Liberal Studies, who took part in the historic voter rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965; and a performance by Camille A. Brown & Dancers at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Notre Dame faculty, staff and students are also invited to join the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation of St. Joseph County in its 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 18. The University is a silver sponsor of the annual event, which includes a Community Service Recognition Breakfast, a Memorial March, a Youth Cultural Program and 2016 Youth Community Service Awards, and a concert at the Morris Performing Arts Center.

Visit or to find out more about Notre Dame’s Walk the Walk Week events. For other activities taking place in South Bend, visit