Mental-health advocate and author Achea Redd will deliver the keynote address at Capital University's 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20, at Capital's Mees Hall, 1 College and Main.
In addition to Redd's address at the morning convocation, the Day of Learning will feature workshops on social-justice topics and a screening of the documentary "Dear Miss Conrad," which follows the lives of Capital students and faculty members during World War II. It will be shown at 4 p.m. at the Drexel Theatre, 2254 E. Main St.
Redd is the author of "Be Free. Be You." In the book, she shares her journey after being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in 2016. Redd is the founder of the organization Real Girls F.A.R.T. (fearless, authentic, rescuer and trailblazer), with the mission of empowering women to find their voices and express themselves.
Redd, who is also the mother of two children and the wife of former NBA player Michael Redd, said the pressures of leading a high-profile lifestyle fueled her anxiety. Recovering from a nervous breakdown has enabled her to reach out to others who are experiencing mental-health issues, she said.
"The reaction has been a very positive one from the standpoint of people telling me, 'Thank you for being the one to say this,' " Redd said in a phone interview.
"What I spark is very necessary conversations that need to happen. I've just been a voice to start the conversation."
Redd said she has long looked up to King as a role model, having grown up in churches as a preacher's daughter.
"My dad quoted Dr. King in his sermons," she said. "One of the things I gleaned from (King) was we have to be concerned not just with the injustice in our own sphere, but injustice everywhere."
Redd said she will discuss the need to raise awareness about mental illness and the treatments that are available.
"I will be talking about mental health in the African American community and how it is deeply stigmatized in communities of color and religious communities," she said.
"I will be discussing mental health through a lens of how Dr. King would look at it from a social-justice perspective. That's what Dr. King would have wanted: to use your struggle to help others."
Following her keynote address, Redd will participate in a question-and-answer session from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Blocks of workshops will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
The event will include the annual Hank Marr Jazz Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union's main dining room.
Admission to most events will be free.
Tickets for the luncheon may be purchased at the Harry C. Moores Student Union from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $12 for anyone not on the university's meal plan, $6 for Capital faculty and staff with identification, $11 for senior citizens and $6 for children ages 10 and younger.
The university's S and F lots will be open for parking without a permit.
For more information, go to capital.edu.