A Letter from NYU President, Andy Hamilton
Dear NYU Community:
On February 10, 1961, speaking at NYU’s former University Heights campus in the Bronx, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable.” The speech was part of Dr. King’s larger fight for civil rights and social justice, inclusion, and equality for all. But it was also a challenge to NYU, one that is still relevant to us today. Indeed, perhaps at this moment, more so than it has been in a long time.
Today marks the start of what has become an anticipated and cherished tradition at NYU—our annual MLK Week. This year’s theme, Essence of a True Revolution, is apt for these uncertain times, when the very soul of Dr. King’s message is mocked and muddied rather than upheld and uplifted. This week offers a multitude of rich and varied events across our campuses that evoke the spirit and values of Dr. King within our community—welcoming all, reaching out to those who are different, and bridging divides.
In that spirit, I urge you to participate in the coming MLK Week events. Whether through the annual Day of Service, helping out neighbors and community organizations, or by attending the Steinhardt Graduate Student Organization’s annual MLK Oratory Competition to reflect on how words and reason can shape our national conscience, MLK week offers many opportunities to honor its namesake’s legacy. And, in particular, I encourage you to take part in the marquee program of the week, the University-Wide Event, to see how Dr. King’s dream is being realized across NYU’s global community. There you will hear faculty, alumni, and luminaries from the arts to the media share their stories, and help us think about ways to move the discussion forward and make progress together.
As much as MLK Week and NYU’s African Heritage Month are opportunities for celebration, they are a chance for action and engagement.
I hope that everyone can participate in some way.