Message from our President, Ivan L. Harrell, II. Ph.D.
Dear Campus Community,
Growing up, I remember hearing about, and later, studying the life and significant contributions of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I recall reading and watching his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and remembering the two sentences that resonated with me deeply:
“It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
So much has changed since Dr. King uttered these words, but as we know, we, as a country, still have a long way to go.
These past number of years, particularly the last year, have reminded me that we are a country where a Black man can rise to become President, and a Black and Asian woman can ascend to become Vice President. But, we also know that this is a country where institutionalized racism still exists, which results in inequitable impacts on people of color.
As we reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King, I challenge us as a college community to remain committed to our work to fulfill our vision of creating an environment “where students, faculty, staff, and community members are welcomed, appreciated, and valued.”
To fulfill our mission, we must continue our dedicated work addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as our commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution.
It is only through this hard work that we will achieve the dreams of Dr. King, and the dreams that I, and so many of you, have for our amazing college community.
I wish all of you a peaceful Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Message from Dr. Judy Loveless-Morris, Vice President, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Many are familiar with the “I have a dream” passage of the Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s public address in Washington, DC. The aforementioned speech highlights one aspect of Dr. King’s work: civility and integration. While his demonstrated commitment to civility is heralded and celebrated, it is also an incomplete depiction of his work. While he was alive, Dr. King was also considered controversial, radical, dangerous, and a troublemaker for the ideas he articulated. In fact, coordinators had a difficult time identifying a venue for his one and only visit to Seattle in 1961.
The day before his assassination, Dr. King called out the unequal treatment of black employees at multiple companies. He also fiercely advocated for economic justice, calling for a “radical redistribution of economic and political power.” His philosophy focused on civil disobedience and “creative maladjustment.” Too often, Dr. King’s framework for social justice is oversimplified and ignores the complexity of his work. Dr. King went from being named “Time” magazines “Man of the Year,” to being
arrested over 30 times. Dr. King is more than a civil leader that delivered a beautiful speech. He delivered many speeches—calling out injustice everywhere, particularly racial injustice. He organized, led, and participated in demonstrations of civil disobedience in several cities to call out inequities in our society. He made people uncomfortable, he was often hated, and his work was not without sacrifice. It ultimately cost him his life.
Though we cannot convene for an in person activity this year, I would like to invite people to celebrate MLK day by listening to one of Dr. King’s less popular speeches “Beyond Vietnam.” The transcript can be read here. The speech is about 100 minutes, and is offered by our colleague Julie Lancour. She says that she couldn’t stop listening to the speech.
As you listen to the speech, I ask you to consider the following questions (copied and adapted from Stanford’s King Institute):
- What did you learn about King that is not traditionally taught?
- Was King’s decision to speak out against the war a departure from his political, philosophical, and social stance? If not, how was his message actually consistent with his philosophical and political beliefs?
- How are King’s words relevant today?
Too often, especially in recent political times, we have chosen not to listen; or to do so selectively. We hope that TCC will continue to listen. Additionally, we hope that each of us will and can acknowledge that developing better communities, colleges, and nation often comes with a cost. Take care of yourselves and each other.
What will you do on MLK Day?
Here's a list of community events, compiled by MetroParks Tacoma.