May 20, 2022

Pastor, Justice Reform Organizer to Deliver MLK Keynote

Rev. Dr. LaKeisha Cook, a pastor and justice reform organizer with Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, will deliver the keynote address for UMW’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Wednesday.

Rev. Dr. LaKeisha Cook, a pastor and justice reform organizer with Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, will deliver the keynote address for UMW’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Wednesday.

Last March, Rev. Dr. LaKeisha Cook stood by Gov. Ralph Northam’s side as he announced that Virginia would become the first southern state to abolish the death penalty.

“Today, we turn the page in the history books,” said Cook, a Baptist minister and civil rights advocate, noting that the commonwealth once allowed the second highest number of modern-day executions in the country. This was the start of a new chapter, she said, focusing on “transforming the justice system into one that is rooted in fairness, accountability and redemption.”

Cook will share that story – how her work to end capital punishment began and where it’s going next – when she delivers the keynote address for the University of Mary Washington’s weeklong Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Sponsored by the Office of the President, her speech will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. in the University Center’s Chandler Ballroom. Participants may also register to attend virtually.

“We are honored that the UMW community will have the opportunity to hear from this amazing leader,” said Marion Sanford, director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC), which is hosting the celebration honoring Dr. King’s life and legacy. “Dr. Cook will undoubtedly educate, motivate and empower our students and others on social justice issues and how they too can affect positive change.” Read more.