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Rheeda Walker, expert on Black mental health, to deliver University’s 2022 MLK address

December 13, 2021
portrait of Rheeda WalkerRheeda Walker, a professor of psychology and a behavioral scientist at the University of Houston, will deliver the University of Rochester's MLK Commemorative Address on Friday, January 21. (Photo provided)

The annual event is scheduled to occur virtually on Friday, January 21.

Note: This post was updated on January 7, 2022, to reflect the event changing to an online-only format in accordance with the University’s latest COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Rheeda Walker, a professor of psychology and a behavioral scientist at the University of Houston, will deliver the University of Rochester’s 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address.

Event registration

Registration is required for Walker’s virtual talk on Friday, January 21, 6–7 p.m. EST. This event is free and open to the public.

Registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email the day of the event.

Walker will discuss the mental health challenges facing African Americans and take questions from the audience on Friday, January 21 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. EST. This online event is free and open. All attendees must register, and a Zoom link will be emailed to virtual participants the day of the event.

Walker will meet online with University student leaders prior to her speech.

“Our students on the selection panel wanted to focus on mental health and tie it to the theme of civil rights,” says Thomas Crews, cochair of the event and an academic program coordinator in the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA). “Dr. Walker fits that theme perfectly.”

Walker wrote The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health, a 2020 self-help book author Jemima Pierre has called “a Black cultural tour de force; a robust and revelatory declaration that our very own culture can save us.”

Walker’s work has appeared or been cited in the Washington Post, CNN Health, the Houston Chronicle, and Ebony magazine.

The event is cosponsored by the Office of the President and OMSA. It was instituted in 2001 to promote issues of diversity, freedom, civil rights, and social justice in order to commemorate King’s legacy. Past speakers have included Ibram Kendi, Symone Sanders, Joy DeGruy, Jesse Jackson, Maria Hinojosa, Michael Eric Dyson, and Martin Luther King III.

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