Print This Issue

Penn’s Commitment to the Legacy: Mobilizing for Peace & Social Justice
December 5, 2006, Volume 53, No. 14

As a teenager in the sixties, I considered my views harmonious with revolutionary leaders of the time. Consequently, I favored listening to Malcolm X and believed that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was preaching an impossible doctrine to live by. Love thy enemy! I doubted that any people could love people who profess to hate them or at best think of themselves as better than another group of people? Fortunately, I have been able to live a long time beyond my teenage years. I now fully appreciate Dr. King, as a great visionary and world leader. Dr. King challenged America to be better and the United States is a better nation because of Dr. King’s civil rights work. Dr. King’s commitment to peaceful relations among communities and nations was possibly only surpassed by his vigilance for social justice.

Here at the University of Pennsylvania, we may be viewed by many people as a very privileged community. Our local and global neighbors may believe Penn is an Ivy League institution caring only about research, money and self-servicing expansion. Of course, when our neighbors further investigate Penn’s commitment to local and global community development they discover a track record of excellence. The University’s involvement in community service projects, mentoring, programs for economic inclusion and sustainable development activities have been documented in several Penn publications. The University of Pennsylvania’s dedication to the humanistic development of people will be celebrated in a major way during our Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium from January 15 through January 26, 2007. Penn’s concern for people, their needs and their well-being is a driving force for many of us who participate during the MLK Day of Service. The MLK Breakfast and the MLK Inter-faith Program bring the Penn community and our local neighbors together in the honoring of people, who many believe reflect a deep passion for service to others. The MLK Symposium programs offered during the aforementioned two-week period will be facilitated by a variety of students, staff, faculty and community leaders.

Our University, our city and our country continually need reminders to mobilize for peace and social justice. Some corporate board rooms and city streets are plagued with abuses of power, moral improprieties and gross attacks against particular communities. Dr. King demonstrated bravery valiantly. We can no longer wait for heroes such as Dr. King. We are the ones we have been waiting for! Come join us this year in our MLK Symposium; someone’s life may be enhanced because of your presence.

 “…when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live—men and women will know…that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization—because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness.”

(from Dr. King’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech December 10, 1964).

—Robert Carter, Executive Chair,
 MLK 2007 Commemorative Symposium Executive Planning Committee


Reminder: December 8 is the deadline for the 2007 MLK Community Involvement Awards.

Almanac - December 5, 2006, Volume 53, No. 14