University celebrates 35th annual MLK event


Katie McIlheran

Interim Chancellor Jim Henderson

Dauntae Green, Managing Editor

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with Student Diversity Engagement & Success hosted the 35th Annual MLK Commemorative Event Tuesday Jan. 25 at 3:30 p.m. in the University Center Hamilton Room. There were two speakers that spoke at the event, Assistant Complex Director LaPerish Barnes who was in charge of artistic selection for the event, and founder and CEO of Royal Capital Group Kevin Newell. Both speakers talked about the importance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s work and the depth of his impact on society. They also addressed racism and the issues of race today with the acknowledgement that the land of Whitewater was owned by Native Americans, recognizing them and honoring them. 

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has hosted MLK Commemorative events for 35 years, to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, acknowledge the presence of racism, speak up against racial injustice, and bring in speakers to inspire others.

“The University of Whitewater is a community of collective wellbeing of all converse diverse warhawks. Racism, discrimination and hatred has no place here. We have the obligation to foster peace, to protest, and to help in contempt of others. Martin Luther King advocated, and gave all to ensure all equality,” said Interim Chancellor, Jim Henderson.

Junior Michael Bose, a peer mentor, student led the land of acknowledgement for the first people Native Americans that owned the lands of Whitewater and showed that UW-Whitewater acknowledges the land that was owned by Native Americans. LaPerish Barnes gaveb his artistic selection speech on MLK, racism, police reform, and critical race theory for the event. 

“Long live the king! Long live who?! The King! Dr King was without the white man’s greed, he was a man who took a stand. When you speak of King, he didn’t die, no he was murdered! He was murdered for believing in the ideas that people should be equal, the ideas of police reform, and critical race theory. He was viewed as a leader for the people and he paid for it. Long live who?! The King! Long live who? The King!” said Assistant Complex Director, LaPerish Barnes.

Kevin Newell who was a graduate from class of 2007 and 2009 from UW-Whitewater who now serves as the founder and CEO of Royal Capital Group, a leading business holding company with a focus on urban development. As the CEO, he guides the company’s efforts across many verticals which brings real estate ventures, urban health, food beverage, experiences, tech, and social responsibility. He discussed what it takes to be successful in the business world, and some of the things that King could teach you in the world as a business professional.

“It is to share with each other’s culture, we have to come together with each other, we learn from each other, challenge, and achieve more things together. There would be some people that may have different ideologies, I work with someone that have different ideas, but we understand each other through other things. When you are dealing with a situation in the business world, you must leave your feelings out of it, work professionally, and work in the environment that you can. There will be challenges as a person of color in the business world, but use those challenges to your advantage, keep your mind out, and use your culture to your mind. The culture, and diversity can be to your advantage,” said keynote speaker, Kevin Newell.

Kevin Newell is the first African American to create and own a multifamily commercial development company in downtown Milwaukee and in Madison. He is recognized as one of the top 48 most influential African Americans in Wisconsin, the Business Journal as a 40 under 40 recipient, National Top real estate Executive, and Regional Top 75 Power Broker.