Emory Report homepage
February 20 , 2006
Letter to the Editor: Thank you, Mrs. King
On Tuesday, Feb. 7, our community witnessed two events that marked the passing of an era—one of Mrs. Coretta Scott King’s homegoing and celebration of life, and the Founders Week panel of speakers on “Experiencing Race at Emory: the Desegregation Era.” At both events, speakers shared special memories of courageous leaders who shaped the civil rights movement, transforming race relations both across the country and here at Emory.
For those who were unable to attend these events, and on behalf of the President’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity, I would like to share and underscore the messages that affirm and call for leadership among us: our cohort of students, alumni, staff, faculty and administrators.
Thank you, Mrs. King, for your unwavering commitment to equality, nonviolence, peace and justice, and for a lifetime of service to social justice. At this University, she made many contributions directly to Emory through her presence, speeches and remarks at many programs relating to community service, peace and ending racism. Moreover, Emory was privileged to have Mrs. King as a “distinguished faculty” member who co-taught a class with the Candler School of Theology’s Dr. Noel Erskine on “The Theology of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1990s.”
Mrs. King is a role model for all to emulate. As mentioned in the celebration of life on [Feb. 7], she demonstrated an unshakable faith and initiative to help overcome Jim Crow laws and discrimination in employment and housing. Her agenda transcended civil rights as she worked to end poverty, establish women’s rights, raise human rights, end apartheid in South Africa, and dismantle homophobia. That shining torch of peace and justice Mrs. King carried must be carried on, and she has passed that torch to all of us.
Our own Emory leaders of the 1960s and ’70s are sources of inspiration and hope. The Founders evening program introduced Emory’s courageous set of “firsts”—first African American students in the college, nursing and law schools; the first African American female faculty member, Dr. Delores Aldridge; and those first student government leaders and administrators who advocated the racial integration of Emory in the academic realm and the social democracy of campus life.
Let us be inspired, yet not complacent. Emory has made steady progress on diversity, yet opportunities remain to expand, collaborate and strengthen our diverse community. It’s time to get up, move forward and be at the table where policy and social change can be made. Emory needs to hear all voices to continue to improve the quality of life for all who are here and will follow.
At this time, there are openings within the three president’s commissions—PCORE, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, and the President’s Commission on Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered Concerns—as well as openings for leadership within student organizations, Employee Council and the Transforming Community Project.
Please heed the call for leadership, and step up. Help keep the dream alive at Emory.
Chair, President’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity
Feb. 9, 2006