Speakers Highlight Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue Events at UW

The events are free and open to the public

By: Timothy Krause

A Philadelphia writer, performer and teaching artist, and Iraq’s first Miss Universe contestant in nearly 50 years are among speakers during the 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue (MLK DOD) Feb. 3-9 at the University of Wyoming.

Performance artist Kai Davis will give the MLK DOD keynote performance from 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Wyoming Union Ballroom. Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan will discuss her path to competing in the 2017 Miss Universe Pageant during a lunchtime discussion earlier that day at 12:15 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Ballroom.

All MLK DOD events are free and open to the public. For a full list of events, visit the webpage at www.uwyo.edu/studentaffairs/mlkdod/index.html.

In collaboration, MLK DOD and African American and Diaspora Studies, and UW Black Student Alliance Black History Month events are scheduled concurrently Jan. 31-Feb. 9.

Idan became a global sensation at the Miss Universe contest after posting a selfie with Miss Israel on Instagram with the caption, “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.” The post provoked backlash throughout the Arab world and went viral all over the world. Idan received dozens of death threats, including from Hamas, and her family was forced to flee Iraq.

Under immense pressure to delete the post and condemn Israel, Idan took a courageous stand for peace and refused. She later visited Israel for the first time to be reunited with her fellow Israeli contestant. Idan since has founded Humanity Forward, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing Muslims and Jews together, and promoting women’s rights in the Middle East. She currently is a singer-songwriter and Arab network TV show host based in Los Angeles, Calif.

Davis is a writer, performer and teaching artist from Philadelphia. Davis was the artistic director of the Babel Poetry Collective from 2012-16 and has performed for TEDx Philly, CNN, BET, Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio. She is a two-time international grand slam champion, winning Brave New Voices in 2011 and the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational in 2016, and is a 2017 Leeway Transformation A