MURRAY – Although COVID-19 has once again prevented the traditional in-person breakfast and program, it hasn’t stopped Murray State University officials and students from honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. . Monday.
A virtual celebration aired on MSU’s Office of Multicultural Initiatives YouTube page, and Murray State President Bob Jackson and others thanked the office, along with the MLK Service Day Planning Committee Jr. and SG Carthell, Executive Director of Multicultural Initiatives and the Dr. Marvin D. Mills Sr. Multicultural Center, for establishing the program.
“At Murray State University, we value diversity, equity, and inclusion and strive to have a campus community where everyone feels welcome, safe, and supported,” Jackson said. “I would like to thank our professors and staff for their efforts to create a positive climate on campus for our students. We have worked as an institution to promote these important principles and we will continue to put our words into action.
“Today is a day we want you to reflect on and embrace the value of service to others. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, and I quote, “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. Dr King was a minister, educator and social justice activist He led the civil rights movement which focused on non-violent protest Dr King’s vision of equality and civil disobedience changed the world for the better. This paved the way for the many advancements we are currently enjoying in diversity, equity and inclusion.
“While we recognize that we still have work to do, today we celebrate Dr. King’s dedication to justice, humanity, equality and social change. We are also aware of the ultimate sacrifice he made to seek peace and justice for all. The ongoing challenges of the pandemic and the recent tornadoes and extreme weather we’ve experienced in Western Kentucky should remind us how opposed we are (as) to that which could divide us. This year’s theme – “Living the Dream: Building Excellence Through Collaboration” – is timely, as we have seen many caring, courageous and generous people from all walks of life come together to serve their fellow Commonwealth citizens during very difficult times. ”
Carthell spoke about the MLK Racers Challenge, an initiative to engage students, faculty, staff and the community in Day of Service. This is planned to be an annual program, and this year the Mills Multicultural Center – which is located inside the Curris Center – will be accepting donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily until Friday of this week. A list of necessary items can be found at murraystate.edu/omi. Through their donations, students in the Athletics, Greek Life, Residential Colleges, and Student Organizations categories will earn points for their groups and compete against each other. A “traveling trophy” will also be awarded each year to the group with the most points, Carthell said.
“Thank you for your continued support of this holiday and for making it not just a day where you sit back and do nothing, but get out there and really make a difference because that’s what it’s all about,” Carthell said. “Dr. King’s legacy is rooted in service to others, and…we lean on the backs of Dr. King and so many others who have made it possible – through effort, hard work and sacrifice – to to be where we are today. Do we have everything the way we want? Of course not. Are there things we need to do to improve? Of course (there are). But we want to use today to celebrate (King) and celebrate the work that we’ve done in coming together as a community and taking those things that unite us, those things that we have in common, and… be the best that we can be.
Darren Russell, president of the Black Student Council, referenced a quote from King about moving forward and making steady progress, saying students in his organization try to live by those words.
“The Black Student Council is following in Dr. King’s footsteps as we act as a voice for students of color on campus and continue to move forward to ensure that all needs of all students are met at Murray State” , Russell said. . “Today is not just a day of celebration, but also a day of service. During the day, think about what you can do in service to others, by volunteering your time or making a donation… it’s important not only to help the community, but it also honors Dr. King’s legacy.
Jackson and Tim Todd, MSU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, both referenced MSU’s four guiding principles of community engagement and encouraged all who watch to try to live up to them. ideals. These principles are to accept each other, to learn from each other, to create an atmosphere of positive engagement and to fight against racism, discrimination, phobias and prejudices.
“Dr. King always knew the importance of education,” Todd said, “and I think this quote from him bears repeating: ‘The function of education is to learn to think hard and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. I want to echo Dr. Jackson’s invitation for you all to participate in this year’s MLK Jr. Racers Challenge. We know that recent tornadoes in western Kentucky – including my hometown of Dawson Springs – have devastated many in these communities.When you also consider the severe weather we experienced after the tornadoes, we should unite in a spirit of community and collaboration.
Don Robertson, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at MSU, pointed out that the presentation was filmed at the Mills Multicultural Center and paid tribute to its namesake.
“This is an appropriate place to bring this message to you because Dr. Mills and his wife, Eunice, characterized and lived Dr. King’s principles and values,” Robertson said. “The message of love, peace, kindness and service, the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion every day of the year. Essentially, just being kind to one another. …as Dr. King said, life’s most persistent and pressing question is ‘What are you doing for others?’ The Martin Luther King Racer Jr. Racer Challenge gives us the opportunity to answer the question in a very positive way.