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MLK Commission welcomes Andrew Aydin to 2020 Day of Celebration

Posted: 8:47 PM, Jan 17, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-21 15:41:58-05
Andrew Aydin

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Andrew Aydin, an award-winning author and top aide to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, will be the featured speaker at the 2020 MLK Day of Celebration hosted by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan.

“Andrew has been a driving force in communicating civil rights history to impact future generations,” said Elaine Hardy, MLK Commission chair. “He will add a unique voice to our celebration of the life and the legacy of Dr. King as well as help encourage attendees to look for ways to make a difference in their own communities.”

Aydin will speak to the event’s theme, “There Comes a Time When Silence is Betrayal,” a Dr. King quote.

A New York Times bestselling author, Aydin is the creator/co-author of the three-volume, graphic memoir “MARCH” that recounts Lewis’ experiences in the nation's struggle for civil rights. Co-authored with Lewis and illustrated by Nate Powell, “MARCH” is the first comics work to win the National Book Award. It is used at schools, colleges and universities across the country to teach students about the civil rights movement. Several classes at Michigan State University use it today.

An Atlanta native, Aydin is a Turkish-American who was raised by a single mother and grew up reading comic books. After college, he took a job with Lewis. In 2008, Lewis mentioned to Aydin the 1957 comic book “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story” and the role it played in the early days of the civil rights movement.

Recognizing the potential for a comic on Lewis' life to inspire young people, Aydin urged Lewis to write a comic about his involvement in the movement. Lewis agreed with one condition: that Aydin write it with him.

Aydin’s other works include the Captain America story “Home of the Brave” in “Marvel Comics Presents #3,” the 2016 “X-Files Annual #1” for IDW, and the story “Without and Within” in “Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1” from Image Comics, among others, as well as articles for the Atlanta alt-weekly Creative Loafing and the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance Magazine.

He is a National Book Award winner, a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Honoree, a Printz Award winner, a Sibert Medal winner, a Walter Dean Myers Award winner, a two-time Eisner award winner and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors.

Today, Aydin serves as digital director & policy advisor to Lewis in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Trinity College in Hartford and Georgetown University in Washington D.C., Aydin wrote his master’s thesis on the history and impact of the comic book “Martin Luther King & The Montgomery Story.” He speaks at schools and universities, and participates in reading programs with incarcerated youth.

The 35th Annual MLK Day of Celebration is Monday, Jan. 20, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at Lansing Center, 333 Michigan Ave., Lansing. It is sold out.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan works to support equality, diversity and social justice. It focuses on the area’s pressing issues of literacy, youth violence, hunger, mentoring, education and community enrichment. The nonprofit organization supports a number of community service agencies and promotes youth initiatives, such as essay and art contests, college scholarships and the annual 8-day Y-Achievers Cultural Immersion Transportation Study & College Tour for high school students.

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