Former assistant to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Andrew Young, will be speaking this week at UVU. Courtesy of Julie Nichols

As part of the 17th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Utah Valley University will be able to hear from someone that knew and worked directly with Dr. King.

The school is welcoming Ambassador Andrew Young, former US ambassador to the United Nations, Congressman, Mayor of Atlanta and assistant to Dr. King, to give a keynote address entitled “The Journey Forward” on Thursday, Jan. 13, at 10 a.m. in the Grande Ballroom.

At 2:30 p.m., Young will be leading a discussion of his books; An Easy Burden and Walk in My Shoes in LI 120. The books can be purchased at the UVU Bookstore. He will then continue his visit with students by attending, along with Governor Gary Herbert, the Arts and Awards Reception in the Noorda Theater from 6-8 p.m., where he will present the awards.


According to faculty putting the commemoration together, Young is the embodiment of the commemoration’s theme, “Re-Imagining the Dream.” King spoke of a dream of economic and racial justice through nonviolent struggle.

King’s dream was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, who led the independence movement in India in the first half of the 20th century. Young has carried this dream of nonviolent change to this generation.

As a representative of the re-imagining of King’s dream, Young expands the vision from civil rights, justice and equality in those years to achieving justice around the world and reaching for equality and human rights among people of different nations and regions worldwide as the struggle continues in the 21st century.

Young received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Jimmy Carter and the Legion d’Honneur from France, the most distinguished civilian in each respective country. Young has received many other awards and has been widely published.

The goal organizers of the commemoration week have is that as students remember Dr. King, they will hopefully also look forward with Ambassador Young and other nationally known guests to imagining a new dream that will inspire others to make a difference in this generation.