Persisting for Justice in the name of Martin Luther King Jr.
January 10, 2024
Dear DU community,
January 15, 2024, will not only serve as the nation’s official annual commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy but also would have been his 95th birthday. In addition to the University holiday, we offer multiple ways to engage on and around the day. Each year, this holiday allows us the chance to reflect on and discern how we can put forth efforts in the interest of justice and equity. Keeping Dr. King’s ethos in mind, we also consider all that we can do cooperatively and collectively. This year’s DEI theme is “Persisting for Justice,” an apt reflection of Dr. King’s life and legacy.
Beyond his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 and winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, Dr. King continues to stand out in history as a political philosopher and master strategist. In times of strife, turmoil and injustice, generations will surely look to his example and wisdom. Each of us operates in a multitude of intersecting identities, and it should never be forgotten that among the many roles Dr. King filled, he was also a pastor, a husband and a father. An assassin’s bullet took him away from the world and his family, due to his dedication to justice and making our world a better place.
The world in which we live is better due to the work and sacrifices of Dr. King. We best honor him and his legacy by continuing the work and not standing by as the advancements he worked so hard for are rolled back and/or forgotten. Let the holiday be our annual charge to lean in on justice for humanity’s sake. Here at DU, we are dedicated to serving the public good. When we consider the public good, we aim to ultimately serve. Let’s not forget to take the wide variety of intersecting identities, lived experiences and perspectives into account as we continue to persist for justice.
Please accept this message and our variety of engagements as offerings of the hope we have for our entire DU community as we persevere throughout the year, as Dr. King did throughout his life. Visit the Division of DEI’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2024 Commemoration webpage for our programs, local events, educational resources and MLK 2024 4D Guide. The programs feature a variety of ways to engage in work inspired by Dr. King’s legacy.
On Monday, Jan. 15, we will be marching together as a DU community in the City of Denver’s parade. On Tuesday, Jan. 16, we have our National Day of Racial Healing panel, featuring affinity group leaders engaging in critical conversations around how to engage in coalition spaces during these complex and challenging times. Lastly, we encourage you to join us on Tuesday evening as we expand these critical conversations with a workshop led by Urban Sanctuary, a local Black-owned yoga studio.
Christopher M. Whitt, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion