2006-2007 Academic Year

Martin Luther King Teach-In January 25, 2007

On Thursday, January 25, students, faculty and staff gathered for a Teach-In to commemorate and reflect upon the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. This well-attended event was organized by committee members: Sayjal Waddy '07; CAPAS (Center for Asian Pacific American Students) Director Stephanie Velasco Poserio; IDBS (Intercollegiate Department of Black Studies) Administrative Coordinator Sonya Young; and Sky Shanks '07.

MLK Teach-In
Back Row: Assistant Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies Kathleen Yep; Professor of Psychology and Black Studies Hal Fairchild; Professor of Sociology and Chicano/a Studies Jose Calderón
Front Row: Sayjal Waddy '07; CAPAS Director Stephanie Velasco Poserio; IDBS Administrative Coordinator Sonya Young; Sky Shanks '07

The featured panelists were Professor of Sociology and Chicano/a Studies Jose Calderón; Assistant Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies Kathleen Yep; Professor of Psychology and Black Studies Hal Fairchild; and Associate Professor of Sociology and Black Studies Dipa Basu.

President Laura Skandera Trombley

"Martin Luther King's gifts were without peer. In addition to his ministerial work, he was the conscience of a nation and a civil rights leader. He was also an educator and today he continues to teach us. Dr. King teaches us the lessons of hope, of brotherhood, and that we can (and should) aspire to build a world where we are valued for the content of our character. I encourage everyone to find a quiet place and whether they use their ipod, cd, dvd, or cassette deck, take the time to just listen to him speak. He was our country's greatest orator and while he spoke for us all, his gift was he always was speaking directly to you. We need to listen to his message more than ever."

Professor Hal Fairchild

Professor of Psychology and Black Studies Hal Fairchild chronicled milestone speeches and events in the life of Martin Luther King.

Fairchild shared a powerful statement made by King in which he reflected on his accomplishments: "The real victory was what this period did to the psyche of the Black man. We armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect. We straightened our backs up; and a man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.”

Fairchild spoke of King's questioning of the U.S. war policy in Vietnam in 1965, and in 1967 he began speaking in earnest against that war. He said, "It is my sense that, if King were alive today, he would be an impassioned voice for ending the war in Iraq. If we look at what he said about the Vietnam war, we can see that his sentiments are very apropos for the current conflict in Iraq."

Fairchild performed a hip hop rap after concluding his speech as follows, "I suspect that if King were alive today, that he would be influenced by the hip-hop generation, and maybe his theme of using love to combat war would be stated like this."

Panelists

Professor Kathy Yep

". . . We have inherited a history of different marginalized communities working in solidarity to address the root causes of injustice. In the 1960s, Philip Vera Cruz and Cesar Chavez brought Filipino and Mexican workers together to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee. In 2005, Reverend Deborah Lee mobilized Asian American clergy to link race-based civil rights with queer rights in the wake of attacks on gay civil liberties. In 1965, peace activist and Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King asking him to connect the violence of racism and poverty in the United States with the violence of war in Vietnam. In 1966, Dr. King and Thich Nhat Hanh met in the United States. In 1967, King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize; and several months later, King spoke out against the war in his speech, “Beyond Vietnam,” at the Riverside Church in New York City..."

Professor Jose Calderon

"We are here today to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and the legacy he left for all of us of building multi-racial unity – of going beyond divisions to find the common issues and common ground that unites us. I remember when Dr. King passed away and the powerful influence it had in my life. I was at a Jr. College and the way that we responded was with a candlelight march that drew hundreds from every imaginable background. It was those moments that led me to develop principles, which, like MLK, led me to use my life for social change, for the use of non-violence strategies."