Taubman Students, Faculty, and Staff Among MLK Spirit Award Honorees

Each year, the North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Awards honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by recognizing faculty, staff, and students committed to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The awards honor members of the community who exemplify the leadership and vision of Dr. King, including within the context of the pandemic and a reignited sense of urgency to address root causes of social injustice.

Taubman College’s 2022 North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Award winners are:

Akima Brackeen, M. Arch ’22

Recognized for advancing equity outside of the classroom

“DEI work is in response to centuries of unequal rights for people of color in this country, which is perpetuated today. I honestly can’t imagine an environment without this work; however, I believe that there will be ways in which it evolves and manifests.”

Paul Jones III, M.U.R.P. ’22

Recognized for fostering DEI and leading community engagement and human-centered design efforts

“I helped review course syllabi for opportunities to integrate more learnings about equity and injustice in the urban planning field into our courses. The space I was able to hold in these discussions helped me feel at my best doing DEI work. The sessions allowed for collaborative learning and vulnerability from faculty that I didn’t expect.”

Leslie Hoey, director of doctoral studies and associate professor of urban and regional planning

Recognized for engagement in food justice and advancing DEI efforts in Taubman College

“I’ve grown the most and been most inspired when I started listening more and doing my own self-study, and when I’ve been surrounded by others who are willing to dig deep and ask hard questions of themselves, admit their mistakes, confront others with compassion, and keep pushing for change.”

Craig Wilkins, associate professor of architecture

Recognized for his dedication to fighting injustice

“I’ve taught a class in design activism and social justice for at least eight years. One of the many topics we discuss is the field’s deplorable record on racial and gender issues. I encourage each class that they are the future, to be the change they want to see. I entreat each to recognize the power he, she, or they have to enact change in the study and practice of architecture.”

Jacob Comerci, academic innovation project manager and lecturer of architecture

Recognized for leading the way in creating equitable community engagement at Taubman College

I’m honored and humbled to receive the MLK Spirit Award and glad to know that the work of myself and the co-founders of the U-M Public Design Corps (Maria Arquero de Alarcon, Irene Hwang, and Anya Sirota) is having an impact.”

The MLK Spirit Awards are hosted in collaboration with ArtsEngine and the Duderstadt Center as part of U-M’s annual MLK Symposium to honor and commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. King. Learn more about each of Taubman College’s award recipients, as well as the other recipients, on the North Campus Deans MLK Spirit Awards webpage.