Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021

The following message was sent to Morris students and employees on January 18, 2021:

Students and colleagues,

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For 35 years this annual day of service has honored the singular civil rights leader and his enduring legacy with an official day on—not off—in service to our communities. 

The current moment reminds us of just how relevant and pressing Dr. King’s words and vision continue to be. In the midst of an anti-racist movement—reignited last year by the killing of Mr. George Floyd and other unarmed Black people—within the context of a global pandemic, economic crisis, and political division, we all are called to do the work to achieve a more just, equitable, and sustainable future, in all of the ways that it can be.

I write often of the ways in which a liberal arts education invites us into and equips us for civic engagement and service. Our public mandate and academic mission compel us to ask challenging questions, to dream about what can be, and to work toward creating a new reality that works for every member of our diverse society.

I encourage you to find meaningful ways to engage with the community. This week and the weeks ahead offer formal and informal opportunities to engage; here are just a few:

  1. Take part in the UMN Systemwide Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Pledge Drive
  2. Attend Celebrating Dr./Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. through Poetry with Black Table Arts
  3. Join our February 9–10 Anti-Racism Dialogue Series
  4. Register for and attend the upcoming Q&A with author Ijoema Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race?

Daily I see—and appreciate—the many ways in which each of you supports and serves your community. This work does not end, but I want you to know that you are in the right place to do it. You have the liberal arts foundation and network of support you need to continue to seek understanding and to enact change. As you do so today, tomorrow, and beyond, I ask you to consider Dr. King and his life. I encourage you to lift up one another in kindness and respect. And I thank you for your efforts to live our mission in all that you do, on campus and beyond.