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CNN’s Angela Rye to keynote 19th annual MLK Day address

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) and Wake Forest University are partnering to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with events throughout the holiday weekend. 

19th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Keynote Speech

WSSU and Wake Forest will collaborate to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the 19th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Keynote Speech featuring CNN political commentator Angela Rye. The theme is: “On Common Ground: Embracing Our Voices.”

The keynote is at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, in K.R. Williams Auditorium on the campus of WSSU.

Rye is principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy firm based in Washington, D.C. In addition to her work with CNN, she has been featured as a politico, lawyer and advocate by several publications and outlets, including Marie Claire, Ebony, The Washington Post, BET, NBC, HBO, and ABC.

Rye serves on the boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee. She also served as the executive director and general counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress. Rye is a graduate of the University of Washington and Seattle University School of Law.

The keynote also will include musical selections from the WSSU University Choir and the Wake Forest and WSSU Gospel choirs. The event is free and open to the public.

Other Events

Earlier in the evening, Wake Forest and WSSU will present a banquet where one student and one faculty/staff member from both WSSU and Wake Forest will receive the “Building the Dream” award in recognition of their efforts toward improving social justice and building community. The banquet, which will be held at WFU, is not open to the public.

On Saturday, Jan. 19, Wake Forest will host the 10th annual MLK Day of Service Read-In.

Children ages 5-11 will be paired with a “reading buddy” volunteer who will read to them and will accompany them to various activities. Each child also will receive at least one new age-appropriate civil-rights themed book and a donated age-appropriate children’s book to take home. 

The read-in is organized by Wake Forest, WSSU, Salem College, HandsOn Northwest North Carolina, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Girl Talk Triad Chapter. The event will be from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at WFU’s Benson Center. Parents or guardians must sign up for the event online.  

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

Angela Rye

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