MLK statue

A Message from President Julie Sullivan for MLK Day

President Julie Sullivan shared the following in an email to the St. Thomas community.

Ninety-three years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Fifty-eight years ago, he proclaimed, “I have a dream,” from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. And less than two years ago, the murder of George Floyd in the heart of the Twin Cities sparked a local, national and international reckoning calling for racial justice.

It is fitting that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a National Day of Service, a day where we give of ourselves to others. The urgency of Dr. King’s message has only increased with time, and I urge us all to use this day to reflect, give, serve – and to plan. How can we honor and work toward Dr. King’s legacy today? How can we live it out for the rest of the year?

As an institution, we are committed to St. Thomas being a university of radical hospitality, where all are welcomed and treated with the utmost dignity. This is what we work toward, every day, in our day-to-day tasks, in our long-term planning, in our interactions with other organizations and individuals alike.

Last year Pope Francis wrote, “In today’s world, which increasingly faces the challenges of social injustice, division, and conflict that hinder the realization of the common good, Dr. King’s vision of harmony and equality for all people, attained through nonviolent and peaceful means, remains ever timely.”

I am heartened to see that vision living out here at St. Thomas. So many of you are already active agents of positive change: You work to dismantle inequities and build a community with a shared sense of belonging and equity. Thank you for all you do, and I pray that we will all harness the strength of Dr. King’s legacy to create transformative and lasting change. Have a restful, peaceful and thoughtful three-day weekend.

Here are a few ways to honor the legacy of Dr. King this month and throughout the year:

  • Join Student Diversity and Inclusion Services for its 21-Day Racial Justice Challenge. Each day you will be asked to complete 1-2 tasks designed for you to listen, reflect and take action regarding race, racism and antiracism.
  • Invest your time and talents in the local community. Learn more from the Center for Common Good. 
  • Attend the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast, a fundraiser that benefits UNCF Twin Cities, which aims to help local students of color get to and go through college.
  • Log on to Actions Speak, a one-hour virtual event celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. featuring Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
  • Support Black-owned businesses through retail shopping or volunteering.