Tomorrow we formally honor the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – a man whose extraordinary writings, speeches, and personal activism became emblematic of the American civil rights movement. Together with the efforts of many other individuals involved with the movement, Dr. King’s leadership of nonviolent protests such as the Montgomery bus boycott (1955), and advocacy for racial equality through nonviolent resistance, ultimately culminated in the passage of federal legislation aimed at banning discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment practices, voter registration requirements, schools, and access to housing.
In his famous speech from the “March on Washington” in 1963, Dr. King shared his vision of America:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today . . .”
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace (1964), Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. In 1983, President Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor Dr. King and his efforts to advance the causes of equality and non-discrimination in our country.
For many years, members of the Spokane community have gathered to honor, remember, and celebrate Dr. King and his legacy. While I recognize that Gonzaga University is not yet formally in session, and many students will be in the process of traveling back to campus prior to the start of spring semester, I would like to invite any students, staff and faculty who wish to do so, to join me tomorrow at the:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Rally and Unity March (through Downtown)
Monday, January 15th – 10:00am
Spokane Convention Center Ballrooms A, B, and C
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” (Letter from Birmingham, Alabama jail, April 16, 1963).
There are many ways of observing the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, whether through activism, service, or taking time to reflect on the meaning of a life lived in commitment to the cause of justice. Regardless of how one chooses to do so, let us remember that we are all indeed connected to one another, and let us continue to work in service to the building of a nation of justice, respect, and love.Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.
President, Gonzaga University
January 14, 2018