Bending Toward Justice

By Julia Hawkins, Administrative Assistant for Engagement

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated just 53 years ago in Memphis, TN at the age of 39. In his short time on our planet, he became the most well-known civil rights figure in the United States. On Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK Jr.) Day, we celebrate the Reverend Doctor's birthday (January 15) and legacy on the third Monday of the month.

As soon as we hear the name "Martin Luther King," most Americans immediately think of his many powerful statements on racial inequality and the fight for justice. These statements are relevant today as King's "Dream" of a truly equitable society has not yet come to pass. Last June, we were met with that reckoning in an agonizing 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Just last week, we saw the deep ugliness of our nation, on the front steps of its Capitol, created by a society built on slavery and unwilling to give up the power and privilege awarded by white skin.

King knew that the journey of anti-racism and the fight for social justice would not end with him. He knew the deeply-entrenched prejudices living in the hearts and minds of our people. Still, he said:

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

In the spirit of continuing his work, our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup are recommending the following events (taking place on Monday, January 18) to enlighten, inspire and challenge you in your own journey:

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week from Grand Valley State University

How Would You Change the World? MLK Day at the Holland Museum

21st Annual MLK Corporate Breakfast from Grand Rapids Urban League