January 20, 2023

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

Welcome back to campus and to Spring Term 2023! I hope you all had a restful, restorative break and are looking forward to exciting new challenges and opportunities in the coming months. 

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.

In this month when we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am reminded how much he accomplished in his short 39-years of life. Through the sheer power of his words–and his willingness to back those words up with perseverance and peaceful action–Dr. King lit a spark, which ignited a movement and began the long, slow march toward justice that we are still on today.

 If Dr. King were alive today, I think he would be proud of the progress that has been made. The growing awareness of unconscious bias and its impact on marginalized populations. Laws that prohibit discrimination in housing and other accommodations. The number of colleges and universities in Oregon and around the country that are being led by Black presidents.

But I imagine Dr. King would also be disappointed. Fifty-five years after he shared his dream of a more just society–and after a prolonged struggle for civil rights that was expected to bring dramatic change–people of color still are too often judged by the color of their skin, not the content of their character. I am confident Dr. King would say we can–and must–do better. I am committed to that goal–and to working with all of you to achieve it.

Upcoming activities honoring Dr. King

Following are some key programs honoring Dr. King and his legacy that have been planned on campus or in the community in the upcoming week. Thank you to faculty, staff and students who participated in organizing these activities, which allow us to come together as a campus community and to join with members of the larger community in the spirit of unity and hope that Dr. King exemplified. I hope your schedule will allow you to participate:

January 21, 9:00 am-12 pm

January 22, 3:00 pm-5:30 pm, Templeton Campus Center (Room TBD)

January 23

  • IME Multicultural Potluck, 4:30 pm, Council Chambers foyer. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Community Building for Social Change, the Inclusion & Multicultural Engagement (IME) office invites you to our community multicultural potluck!

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 2023 Keynote Presenter: Brianna Renae, 6:00-7:00 pm, Trail Room. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., please join us for the spoken word poetry of Brianna Renae, a local activist in Portland.

January 28


I also invite community members to visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion webpage to see “10 ways to Celebrate Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.”


In appreciation of Dr. King’s life and legacy, 

Dr. Robin Holmes-Sullivan,