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UT Arlington King celebrations include state Sen. West, community service and poetry competition

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: community service, history, students

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The University of Texas at Arlington will pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and honor those who share the civil rights leader’s dream of equality and justice in a series of events that include a speech by UT Arlington alumnus and state Sen. Royce West.

State Sen. Royce West

The annual MLK Advancing the Dream Awards Banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, in the Bluebonnet Ballroom of the E. H. Hereford University Center, 300 W. First St. The banquet honors recipients of the first MLK Living Legend Awards and presents scholarships.

Banquet tickets are $45 and may be purchased at

Sen. West, (B.A., Sociology, ’74, M.A., Sociology, ’80), a 2001 Distinguished Alumnus honoree, will give the keynote address. The theme will focus on service. West, D-Dallas, began his political career at UT Arlington as the first African-American president of Student Congress. He earned a law degree from the University of Houston.

After several years in the Dallas County district attorney’s office, where he became the state’s first African-American chief felony prosecutor, he was elected to the Texas Senate in November 1992.

West’s key initiatives have centered on education and youth. He has worked to increase funding for at-risk youth programs, award greater compensation to victims of violent crime and establish new standards for childcare. He currently chairs the Senate Sub-Committee on Higher Education and is vice chairman of the Education Committee.

Alumna Elizabeth Dinh, (B.A., Broadcast Communication, ’03), is a KTVT/CBS 11 reporter and will emcee the event.

The Bluebonnet Ballroom also will serve as the backdrop for An Evening of Spoken Word Poetry Slam set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Participants will read or recite original work for a chance to win a $1,000 cash prize.

Poetry Slam tickets are $15 and available at

“Make it a Day On, Not a Day Off” is the theme for the annual MLK Day of Service Monday, Jan. 19. In addition to participating in a variety of community service events, volunteers will recognize military veterans and awards will be presented for the largest youth organization and largest organization/business.

Volunteers should gather at 9 a.m. at the Maverick Activities Center, 500 W. Nedderman Drive, for a light breakfast and assignments. The first 150 volunteers will receive a free Arlington MLK Commemorative T-shirt. To volunteer, register at by Saturday, Jan. 17.

Call Toni Kincaid, MLK Day of Service chair, at 817-472-7963 or visit for more information.

Sponsors of this year’s MLK Advancing the Dream Celebration include UT Arlington as well as the City of Arlington, Tarrant County College, the Arlington Independent School District and the Arlington Ministerial Association.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 40,000 students around the world and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.