Concordia's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is meant to encourage the campus community to address current societal issues and cultivate cultural awareness by examining the principles taught by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Schedule of Events

Sunday, Jan. 20  
7-8:30 p.m. Staged Reading: "M. Butterfly"
Main Stage, Frances Frazier Comstock Theatre
Monday, Jan. 21  
All Day
Tunnel of Oppression

Atrium, Knutson Campus Center

8-8:30 a.m.
Morning Refreshments

Atrium, Knutson Campus Center

8:40-9:40 a.m.

Various Locations

9:50-10:20 a.m.
MLK Day Chapel

Centrum, Knutson Campus Center

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Opening Keynote
Tara Setmayer

Memorial Auditorium

1-2 p.m.

Various Locations

2:30-4 p.m.
Frank Leon Roberts

Memorial Auditorium

4:15-5:15 p.m.

Various Locations

7-8:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion
With Frank Leon Roberts, Tara Setmayer, Dr. Edward Valandra, and Dr. Faith Ngunjiri
Centrum, Knutson Campus Center

Keynote Speakers

Frank Leon Roberts

Frank Leon Roberts is an educator and political organizer on the frontlines of the contemporary movement for black lives. He is the founder of Black Lives Matter Syllabus, the nationally acclaimed public educational curriculum that provides resources for teaching BLM in classroom and community settings. Roberts’ pioneering work as the “Black Lives Matter Professor” has been featured in Fader Magazine, NPR, CNN, and an extensive variety of other national media outlets.


He is currently on the faculty at New York University, where his course on the Black Lives Matter movement has been widely acknowledged as the first college course of its kind. Committed to the idea of teaching as a radical form of community organizing, his courses continue to make headlines as national interventions. He has previously held teaching appointments at The New School for Public Engagement, the City University of New York (at both Hunter College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice) and the W.E.B. DuBois Scholars Institute at Princeton University.


Outside of academia, Roberts’ career as a grassroots political organizer has spanned nearly two decades. He began his career as a teenager, mobilizing disenfranchised voters in the wake of the 2000 Bush/Gore election. He then went on to serve as the special assistant to legendary civil rights attorney Johnnie Cochran, whom he worked with on the early legal movement for racial reparations. In 2015, for his career-long commitment to doing racial justice activist work in an intersectional paradigm, he received the 2015 Bayard Rustin Award at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. 

Tara Setmayer

Tara Setmayer is a CNN political commentator, ABC News political contributor and former GOP communications director on Capitol Hill. She is currently the host of the "Honestly Speaking with Tara" podcast.

Setmayer focuses her "tell it like it is" commentary and analysis on political issues that impact America's future. She was a regular panelist on the women's issues program "To The Contrary" on PBS. She has been featured in several local and national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Hill newspaper, and Ebony magazine and has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country including ABC Radio Networks, NPR and XM Radio.

For more than two years, Setmayer served as a community liaison advocating on a variety of issues including affordable housing and services for the chronically homeless and children in South Florida where she co-founded a faith-based homeless program with her mother. She also served for the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), a nonprofit organization that provides national dialogue on how social policies impact America's inner cities and the poor.


Dr. Edward Valandra

Dr. Edward C. Valandra is Sicangu Titunwan, born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. He received his B.A. in chemistry from Mankato State University, his M.A. in political science (public policy) from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and his Ph.D. in American Studies (Native Studies concentration) from SUNY-Buffalo.

Dr. Faith Ngunjiri

Dr. Faith Ngunjiri is associate professor of ethics and leadership at Concordia College and director of the Lorentzsen Center for Faith and Work. Her research work focuses on the experiences of women as leaders at the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, national origins, familial status and other social identities. As a black African immigrant, she knows firsthand how those intersections impact her own experiences of leadership in predominantly white institutional spaces and communities. She uses her own experiences and interviews of others as sites for interrogating the multiplicity of oppressions and microaggressions that black and other minoritized individuals have to navigate daily in majority culture.