Poet Richard Blanco Speaks At MLK ConvocationAcclaimed poet Richard Blanco will be the keynote speaker at Georgia State University’s 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation on Jan. 23.
The convocation, which is free and open to the public, pays tribute to King for his work in social justice and human rights. It will be held at 4 p.m. in the Student Center.
Blanco, the son of Cuban immigrant parents, was the first Latino, first immigrant, first openly gay person and the youngest person to be selected as an inaugural poet. He read his poem “One Today” during President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in January 2013.
He has also authored three award-winning collections, which explore cultural identity and homecoming: “City of a Hundred Fires,” “Directions to The Beach of the Dead” and “Looking for The Gulf Motel.”
The theme of this year’s convocation is “Advancing the Dream…Elevating Social Justice.”
“Richard Blanco represents a new face of ideas and humanity that people can relate to, especially the younger generation,” said Tonya Cook, a program specialist in Intercultural Relations who helped organize the convocation. “Dr. King’s dream was about freedom, social justice and equality for everyone, and Mr. Blanco is a good fit for the 31st annual MLK Convocation.”
The 2014 recipients of the Torch of Peace Award and the Hosea Williams Award for Community Activism will be recognized at the MLK Convocation. The Torch of Peace Award honors an exemplary undergraduate and graduate student, faculty, staff, student organization and alumnus who have demonstrated leadership and service in the promotion of intercultural relations. The Hosea Williams Award honors an individual and a community-based organization for their public service.
A reception and book signing will follow the program.
Georgia State’s Student Center is at the corner of Gilmer and Courtland streets. Doors will open for the event at 3 p.m.