Yamiche Alcindor to give keynote address in EMU’s 2021 MLK celebration

Geoff Larcom / EMU

YPSILANTI – In today’s turbulent and ever-evolving political scene, Yamiche Alcindor has become an influential and widely heard voice in analyzing the critical issues of our time.

She will share her distinct experience and insights with the Eastern Michigan University community as the keynote speaker for EMU’s virtual 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

The celebration, with the theme, “We the People Speak: No Justice, No Peace,” runs from Jan. 15-18, with the virtual academic programs set for Sunday, Jan. 17 and Monday, Jan. 18. Alcindor’s virtual keynote address will run from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 18.

A distinct and informed perspective

“We are delighted to have Yamiche Alcindor as our keynote speaker for Eastern Michigan University’s 35th annual MLK Celebration,” said Ellen Gold, assistant vice president and dean of students at EMU and a co-chair of the 2021 MLK Celebration Committee. “Our theme this year is “We the People Speak: No Justice No Peace,” and the Committee feels that Yamiche will provide a distinct and highly informed perspective on the events of this past year, while also noting their historical significance and our efforts to live up to the grand vision of Dr. King.”

As the White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and an NBC and MSNBC Political Contributor, Alcindor normally begins her reporting day around 5 a.m., unraveling the stream of breaking news to help her listeners make sense of it all.

She often appears on programs such as Morning Joe, Andrea Mitchell Reports, and Meet the Press. Earlier in her career, she was a national reporter for The New York Times, writing about politics and social issues, and a journalist with USA Today.

Alcindor’s knack for following the story has taken her to places such as Belgium for the 2018 North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting. She traveled to Helsinki, Finland, for President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and McAllen,Texas, to chronicle life on the US/Mexican border and gauge the impact of President Trump’s family separation policy.

National Association of Black Journalists honors Alcindor

Alcindor is the daughter of Haitian immigrants, and has written extensively on the intersection of race and politics. She has covered the impact of President Trump’s policies on the working-class, immigration, and breaking news coming out of the Middle East and Asia. She also has reported on the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders and the legacy of President Obama, as well as how police killings affect communities and children.

Alcindor was the recipient of the 2020 White House Correspondents’ Association’s Aldo Beckman Award, presented to a journalist who demonstrates “overall excellence.” This recognition was historic, as Alcindor became the first public media reporter and first Black woman to win the award since its creation in the early 1980s.

She was also named the 2020 Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, and has become a steadily rising voice in journalism. She earned a master’s degree in broadcast news and documentary filmmaking from New York University and a bachelor’s in English, government and African American studies from Georgetown University.

A welcome message from President Smith

In addition to the keynote address and academic programs, the MLK Celebration will include the traditional performances from the Color of Drums, the EMU Gospel Choir and the Closeup Theatre Troupe.

EMU President James Smith will give a welcome message at 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 15. and will present the annual MLK Student Scholarship, MLK Humanitarian Awards, Evans-Strand Peace Award, and MLK Essay Scholarships to recipients at an Awards and Scholarships Ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 3 p.m.

For information about the MLK Celebration go to the special 2021 celebration website or send questions to emu_mlk@emich.edu.

Note: Eastern Michigan University gratefully acknowledges the generous support of this keynote address from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s King-Chavez-Parks Visiting Professor Program.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University’s website.