As we approach Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national day of service set aside to honor this incredible leader, I pray that Dr. King’s legacy helps us unite and recommit to actions that dismantle inequities and build belonging.

We are far from finished with our work to fight injustice and inequality. The year 2020 was a turbulent time of painful racial unrest and reckoning, police brutality, a deathly pandemic and economic suffering. More than ever, we need to carry forward Dr. King’s messages of hope, his fervent desire to promote the power of love and his call for each of us to be active agents of positive change.

We are called to build a culture at St. Thomas and beyond, that is characterized by radical hospitality and a shared sense of belonging and equity, where all are welcomed and treated with the utmost dignity. We must continue to not only hope for, but also work toward, what Dr. King called, “that bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.”

The St. Thomas community is honoring Dr. King in many ways, and I urge you to pause, reflect and act in his honor:

  • Dr. Yohuru Williams and the St. Thomas Racial Justice Initiative invite us to three panels next week that honor the history of Black Americans who have continued Dr. King’s legacy.
  • Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence Kha Yang and our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) faculty fellows share how Dr. King’s message guides our continued work.
  • Campus Ministry will host an ecumenical prayer service next Tuesday, January 19, at 4 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas and live-streamed on the chapel Facebook page. This service takes place in conjunction with the Week of Christian Unity, an effort to foster justice, cultivate peace, and seek unity in both our civic and faith communities.
  • Student Diversity and Inclusion Services (SDIS) will host an important discussion about Dr. King’s “Lost Speech” for all students on Tuesday, and the Center for Common Good urges us to focus on service to others, particularly those suffering from housing or food insecurity, in his name.

The St. Thomas community can and will harness the strength of Dr. King’s message and use the power of love to create change. Have a restful – but thoughtful – three-day weekend. Thank you for being part of this community.

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