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IWU hosts virtual 2022 MLK Celebration featuring Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt

Indiana Wesleyan University will host its ninth annual MLK Celebration honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Friday, Jan. 14. The special community-wide event will honor King’s legacy with scripture and song throughout the evening.

Community members will come together virtually at 7 p.m. for the MLK Celebration event featuring performances by several talented groups and individuals, including: 

• Dr. Todd Williams

• Destiny Christian Center Worship Team

• Lisa Taylor-Weaver

• IWU Gospel Choir

• Rylee Morris

• Wesley Seminary Band

Additionally, attendees will experience the original artwork of J.C. Barnett as he takes everyone through a visual history of Black art. Barnett is an artist based out of Kokomo, Indiana, who seeks to capture famous Black leaders—not just their likeness, but who they were beyond the things they have accomplished. Some of the individuals Barnett has painted include Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington Carver, Fannie Lou Hamer and Malcolm X.

The event also will feature special remarks from Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, the first African American to serve as federal judge in the history of the state of Indiana. Pratt was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on June 15, 2010. She was nominated for appointment by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the full United States Senate by a vote of 95-0. In March 2021, she became Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

“Indiana Wesleyan University’s celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an important aspect of who we are as a community of Christ-followers,” said Dr. Joanne Barnes, professor of leadership studies. “In a time of social injustices and social inaction, it is rewarding for IWU and the communities we serve to come together, reflect on and act positively on Dr. King’s vision of a world where men, women and children can live together in harmony and peace.”

IWU’s annual MLK Celebration began in 2014 as a way to honor King’s legacy. Each year, the celebratory, community-wide event features a talented individual or group, such as local vocalists and musicians, renowned authors and remarkable choirs. 

This year’s MLK Celebration event is a live virtual celebration that will take place as a YouTube premiere. For more information, visit

Indiana Wesleyan University is celebrating 100 years as a Christian, global, comprehensive university providing liberal arts and professional education to approximately 14,000 students worldwide. IWU is one of the largest faith-based universities in America with rich undergraduate, graduate, masters and doctoral programs in such highly acclaimed academic units as the School of Nursing, School of Physical and Applied Sciences, College of Adult and Professional Studies, and School of Arts and Humanities.  An early leader in adult and online education, IWU is known for excellence in innovation. Students live and learn on the beautiful 350-acre IWU-Marion traditional campus, and study through IWU-National & Global programs offered online and at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, founded by the Wesleyan Church denomination and IWU, prepares Christian leaders to engage in missional ministry locally and globally. Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, visit

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