Dear Tulane Community:
Before classes begin for the new spring semester next week, we will pause on Monday, Jan. 16, to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to recognize his transformative contributions in building the Civil Rights Movement for Black freedom, voting rights and equal treatment under the law. This national and university-wide holiday is an annual reminder of how far we have come and how far we still have to go as a country, and as a campus, before we achieve true racial justice and freedom for all.
Ensuring equity, access and opportunity throughout our society – goals for which Dr. King dedicated his life – is not only the right thing to do, it is also the pathway to the greatest advancements in education, medicine, science, arts, culture and every other dimension of human knowledge and endeavor. This truth was taught to me by my parents and reinforced by my mentor A. Leon Higginbotham, a federal judge and civil rights leader from whom I served as a clerk and researcher for his book In the Matter of Color: Race and the American Legal Process.
As we honor MLK, I hope you will remember the profound and lasting impact that members of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities have made at Tulane throughout our history. We are actively working to recognize and honor these contributions through the ongoing Tulane Trailblazers program. In addition, through the Presidential Commission on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, we are also continuing to build an equitable, diverse and inclusive community that welcomes, supports and celebrates individuals from all backgrounds.
With these efforts and many more, we are working for a better tomorrow that will help ensure that the dream of Dr. King, the dream of freedom, becomes a reality for everyone. As the poet Langston Hughes reminded us: “This dream today embattled/With its back against the wall —To save the dream for one/It must be saved for all.”