Division of Student Services

mlk day logo

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day of Engagement 

Monday, January 15, 2018 - Hosted by SEEDS and the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC)

Community Engagement activities

sign up!

SEEDS will provide transportation, reflection activities, and snacks.

milk day poster

Visual Arts and Writing Workshops

These workshops will be facilitated by local artists and are open to black and brown Reed students and high school students. Snacks and dinner will be provided.

Time: 2:00-4:30pm
Place: Reed College, Performing Arts Building
Sign up: For Black and Brown Reed Students; For Black and Brown High School Students; or contact

A native of Memphis, TN; Kalimah Abioto began playing the drums at 3, writing in elementary school and makings films in high school centered around dreams, sexuality and the nexus between Black people, humans, freedom and the natural-spirit worlds. She received her BA in film and video from Hollins University and is a co-creator, along with her four sisters of The People Could Fly Project, a multimedia project documenting the dreams and stories of people in the African Diaspora. Kalimah has worked with different artists and groups including Afropop Worldwide, Holy Mojo, The Black Portlanders, Spirit Law Center, Diamond Law, and others that value life force. Kalimah will facilitate the visual arts workshop.

Shayla Lawson (pronounced Chet'la) is (and / or, at times, has been) an amateur acrobat, an architect, a Dutch housewife, & dog mother to one irascible hound. Her work has appeared in print & online at Tin House, GRAMMA, ESPN, SalonThe OffingGuernica, Colorado Review, Barrelhouse, & MiPOesias.  She is the author of: A Speed Education in Human BeingPANTONE, & the forthcoming I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean. She is a 2017 Oregon Literary & MacDowell Colony Fellow, & a member of The Affrilachian PoetsShayla will facilitate the writing workshop.

Performance by Brown Calculus

This event is free and open to the public!

Time: 6:00-6:20pm
Place: Reed College, Performing Arts Building

Learn more about Brown Calculus!

Panel: Activism Across Mediums

This event is free and open to the public! Come listen to and talk with local activists and artists about how they use creative expression to navigate their work and systems of oppression. 

Time: 6:30-7:245pm
Place: Reed College, Performing Arts Building
Panelists: Sea Mason (Writer, Artist, Community Organizer), Emily Lai (Interim Executive Director, Momenum Alliance), Donovan Smith (Founder/Creative Director/Visionary, Ignorant/Reflections), and Shanice Clarke (Program Coordinator, Portland State University Pan-African Community Student Center and Founder, Aboriginal Scents).

Why MLK Day?

Like Dr. King, SEEDS recognizes the power of community engagement. MLK day of Community Engagement honors his legacy by transforming the day off to a day ON–a day that brings to life our shared mission to build mutually beneficial relationships within the community to foster sustainable and positive change, and to develop tools for self-reflection and passion for lifelong community engagement. We hope that you will join us! 

About the Day 

Each year on the third Monday of January, schools, federal offices, post offices, and banks across America close as we celebrate the birth, the life, and the dream of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a time for the nation to remember the injustices that Dr. King stood against and the rights he stood for: equity, freedom, and dignity. Dr. King furthered his cause through nonviolent direct action protest. 


Past Projects

MLK Day 2010: This year Reed was honored to join 10 other local colleges and universities in a joint celebration and day of community engagement entitled "We are the Dream". Over 1200 students, staff, faculty and their families participated. The day of service started with a rally hosted by Concordia University. It included a performance by the local King Elementary School Choir, and a keynote speech delivered by Pastor Mark Strong of Life Change Christian Center. In addition, local pastor Emmett Wheatfall delivered Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Photos are available on the Oregon Campus Compact Flickr page.

Following the rally, students were transported to one of 50 project sites around Portland. The projects were planned with the assistance of Hands On Greater Portland and the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. The various projects include refurbishing schools, non-profit organizations, and community centers. Many community organizations will also use the day to sign up mentors and tutors for the coming year, and to encourage youth to make a pledge of non-violence.

The day concluded with a reflection discussion among students about the impact of Dr. King’s life work on their own lives, as well as how they would continue their involvement in the future. Reed's participation was sponsored by SEEDS and Multicultural Affairs.

MLK Day 2009: SEEDS partnered with the Portland Chapter of the Reed Alumni Association and Hands on Portland for a fun day of community engagement at David Douglas School District. District librarians guided us through covering hardback and paperback books, protecting them for future use at various school libraries in the district. David Douglas is one the largest and most ethnically diverse school districts in Oregon--and the poverty rate of the adults in the David Douglas High School District is high and continues to grow. Currently, over 64% of students receive a free or reduced lunch, an indicator of high poverty. We supported librarians, teachers, and students; encouraging reading; and protecting library books, a precious resource!

MLK Day 2007: Service at the ReBuilding Center and the Sisters of the Road March and Rally.

A fun and "physically exhilarating" experience of helping to organize and move building materials. The ReBuilding Center is a popular destination for homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, contractors, artists, and enthusiasts interested in building with affordable, environmentally low impact materials. With an inventory that changes by the hour, The ReBuilding Center is the largest non-profit used building materials resource in North America. The ReBuilding Center plays an important role in the region's effort to maintain livable neighborhoods, preserve natural resources, and reduce reusable materials from entering the wastestream. With widespread community support, The ReBuilding Center diverts 4.5 million pounds of reusable building materials from entering our landfills each year. 

MLK group On MLK Day 2006, we spent 2 hours painting and otherwise brightening up the new Children's Room at Project Unica, a program of Catholic Charities that serves Latina, primarily Spanish-speaking survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their children. We put up shelves, built a toy box and painted a mural. Project Unica provides childcare in this room for kids whose mothers are attending a support group or meeting with their advocate for support and case management.

Click on the thumbnails below to see full-size photos of busily painting Reedies and the finished children's room.

painting image painting image painting image painting image

Contact SEEDS

Tara Sonali Miller
SEEDS Program Manager
Student Center 112

Reed students can...

Make an appointment

Join our weekly email list

Check out our blog

SEEDS logo