The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Keynote Lecture is a major event each January open to the entire Villanova community and to the public.

For more than twenty years, Villanova has celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. King with a series of events and programs designed to highlight continuing injustices, while also celebrating those individuals and organizations that challenge and overcome them. Past keynote speakers include Sonia Sanchez, Chaka Fattah, Cornel West, Patricia Williams, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Timothy Tyson, Phillip Atiba Goff, Crystal Lucky, Sonya Douglas Horsford, Anthea Butler, Bryan Stevenson, M.K. Asante, Ian Haney Lopez, and Jim Wallis.

2024 LECTURE: Bending the Arc

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta

181st District/Philadelphia County

7 PM | Wednesday, January 24

Villanova Room, Connelly Center

Malcolm Kenyatta is is a third-generation North Philadelphia native, thought leader, and legislator currently serving in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

In 2023 he was appointed by President Joe Biden to chair the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans.

Representative Kenyatta is a barrier-breaking public figure, becoming the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color and one of the youngest people to become a members the PA General Assembly in 2018. In 2022, he became the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color to seek a U.S. Senate seat in American history. 

Representative Kenyatta has been a vocal proponent of protecting workers' rights, enacting commonsense gun safety policies, and rooting out government corruption and waste. He has multiple legislative leadership roles, including as a member of the powerful State Government Committee with oversight of state agencies and elections, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Government Operations; Chair of Automation and Technology in the Commerce Committee; and as a member of the Finance and Judiciary committees. Additionally, he has served as a member of the Philadelphia Delegation leadership team. 

2023: Jim Wallis

2022: Winona LaDuke

2021: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

2020: Valarie Kaur

2019: Ibram X. Kendi

2018: Diane Nash

2017: Ian Haney Lopez

2016: M.K. Asante

2015: Bryan Stevenson

2014: Anthea Butler

2013: Sonya Douglass Harsford

2012: Crystal Lucky


The Center often records their events, making them accessible to the wider community. You can watch them on YouTube.

Villanova Univeristy
Center for Peace and Justice Education
Corr Hall, 106
800 Lancaster Ave., Villanova, PA 19085

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The Center for Peace and Justice Education is closely integrated with the Office for Mission and Ministry and its departments, programs and initiatives.