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, The Revolution is Now, is apt for these uncertain times. As we follow in the footsteps of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself, we will be bold about speaking out against the issues affecting our very lives because, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” This week offers a multitude of rich and varied events across our campuses that allow us to bring this sentiment to life—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 marquis program of the week, the University-Wide Event, to witness 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 NYU 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.