Alum drawing attention to Oregon's racist past to speak at UP's MLK event

The virtual event will start at 6:00 p.m.

By Austin De Dios | January 15, 2021 6:25pm

This photo was taken at the memorial for Alonzo Tucker on Feb. 29, 2020 and was featured in the Portland Magazine. The event was organized by alumnus Taylor Stewart (18').

Photo by Margaret Jacobsen

Despite this year’s Winter Break overlapping with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the University will be hosting a public virtual event commemorating the Civil Rights leader. The event will take place on Monday from 6:00-7:30 p.m., and will feature founder of the Oregon Remembrance Project and recent alumnus Taylor Stewart (18’) as the keynote speaker.

Stewart has played a pivotal role in shedding light on some of the racial injustice in Oregon’s past. After going on the Moreau Center’s Civil Rights Immersion in 2018 after his graduation, Stewart became inspired and took initiative into researching the story of Alonzo Tucker, who died in 1902, the victim of the only documented lynching in Oregon’s history. Stewart partnered with the Equal Justice Initiative and the Coos History Museum to organize a memorial for Tucker in Coos Bay last February.

“When you talk about ‘why is this particular thing so important’, I’m a young African American Male; the only thing separating me and Alonzo Tucker is 100 years,” Stewart told UP’s Portland Magazine. “There’s nothing different besides 100 years.”

Portrait of Taylor Stewart.

By Margaret Jacobsen

Leading up to the keynote, there will be welcome music with DJ Black Daria, and Vice President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee Raphaelle LeBlanc will be giving an introduction. LeBlanc has played a key role in organizing events to draw more attention to diversity and inclusion issues in athletics. 

This will be the second year UP is not holding classes on the historic holiday. Unlike last year, UP will not be hosting a day of service due to COVID-19 complications and the extended Winter Break. MLK Day On is the first of many Diversity Dialogues events scheduled for the month of January. Those who would like to attend this event must register through Eventbrite.

Austin De Dios is the News and Managing Editor of The Beacon. He can be reached at