Strength to Love: UVU Commemorates Martin Luther King Jr.

Join us for UVU’s 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week.



January 17 – 21, 2022

Strength to Love: Addressing Systemic Inequities to Engage Our Full Humanity

Join us for UVU’s 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week.

This year’s virtual event will include:

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly... this is the interrelated structure of reality.”

— The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What do you know about the life of George “Perry” Floyd Jr.? Do you know that he was a college student? Do you know that he was an athlete and aspiring musician? Do you know that he was a father, grandfather, and advocate for ending community-based violence? Do you know that he was living in Minneapolis working with a program that helps people from Houston’s Third Ward, a historically Black neighborhood, to find jobs and recover from substance abuse?

You may know, from the media, that “Perry” had issues with the law and with criminality. You may not know the lengths he went to reform himself despite dealing with serious social, emotional, mental, and economic pressures.

It is vital for us to recognize the pain and trauma of losing Black lives to police and community violence. It is also important to learn about the actual lives of people.

How can understanding more about the humanity of a person remove prejudice? How can we have compassion for people suffering from poverty, substance abuse, joblessness, and health challenges? What is the justice system, and who is it for? How do we make things more equitable? Are there groups of people for whom the law has historically worked against? Is a Black life as valuable as any other life? What does “Black” mean to you? What does “African American” mean to you? Do you think certain people are more susceptible to criminality? How might conditions of poverty increase the likelihood of crime? Are the people living in poverty in that situation because of their own actions or inactions? Or is it systemic? Is it systematic? What role does race play in all of this?

We invite you to listen, learn, and inquire. We don’t intend to solve the problem of racism and other social challenges. We do intend to display that Utah Valley University is a place for open and considerate dialogue. The true spirit of Wolverines is one of toughness. Let’s turn that energy inward and challenge ourselves to think differently and embrace diversity.

On May 26, 2020, Floyd learned that his older brother, George “Perry” Floyd Jr., had been murdered by four police officers in Minneapolis after a store clerk alleged that he passed a counterfeit $20 bill. The world watched as named officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Across the United States and the world, George’s death sparked a worldwide outpour of protests against police brutality, especially toward Black people. On June 10, 2020, the day after George’s funeral, Philonise testified before the United States Congress urging them to pass the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which banned chokeholds, created a registry to track officers with serious misconduct records, and lifted certain legal protections that now makes it difficult to hold officers accountable in court for using excessive force.

Philonise’s life drastically changed forever. Floyd vowed that George’s death would not be in vain or just another hashtag on a T-shirt. He began to tirelessly advocate for ways to change systemic racism and alleviate challenges caused by police brutality and misconduct, which have for over 400 years led to the harassment and killing of African Americans at the hands of police.

Mr. Philonise Floyd, Brother of George Floyd and Activist

About the speaker

Mr. Philonise Floyd

Brother of George Floyd and Activist

On June 20, 1981, Philonise O’Neil Floyd was the fourth child born to the late Mrs. Larcenia “Ms. Cissy” Jones on Fort Hood Army Base. Raised in the Third Ward area of Houston, Texas, he attended Jack Yates High School and Texas Southern University, pursuing a degree in criminal justice. In 2014, Floyd started his professional driving career with C. R. England, one of the nation’s largest refrigerated carriers,  later accepted a position with W. M. Dewy and Son, Inc., hauling custom pipes to their specific destinations.

Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week is sponsored by the African Diaspora Initiative (ADI). The initiative relies on scholarships to benefit students. To donate, visit the ADI Scholarship page.


For tickets to the in-person watch party, visit