Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 17, 2022

Today we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In his final speech, I’ve Been to the Mountain Top, on April 3, 1968, Dr. King said: “[L]et us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.” 

These words speak to our current moment as well. We have work to do in our society and our law school to advance racial and social justice and create a welcoming and inclusive community. Law is a powerful tool in advancing greater justice and, as lawyers, we have an obligation and opportunity to make a difference. 

I encourage you to participate in the University’s annual MLK Dream Week, with thanks to Candace Bergeron Lenard and the other members of the University’s Dream Week Commemoration Committee. This expanded special commemoration includes among its events a streaming of Dr. King’s “The American Dream” speech and a keynote address from Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the New York Times’ 1619 Project. MLK Dream Week also includes the annual Oratorical Contest, which is open to all Chicago Campus students and staff. The deadline for entries is 12:00 pm CST today and the attached PDF has information on participating. 

In his 1965 Commencement address at Oberlin College, Dr. King reinforced the importance of committing to doing the needed work: “Let nobody give you the impression that the problem of racial injustice will work itself out….It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals.” I am grateful for the contributions of so many in our community and look forward to collaborating to advance this work together. 

Hari Osofsky