The Tabor community celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a different way this year.
On Friday, January 16, the remembrance began with a presentation in the Wickenden Chapel by Dr. Peniel Joseph, who spoke about Martin Luther King and his legacy. Dr. Joseph is the Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University.
On Monday, all students and faculty members went to New Bedford to view “Selma,” a film about the 1965 voting rights marches. Once back on campus, students and faculty were divided into groups for a discussion and reflection period.
This new approach to celebrate the legacy and impact of Dr. King brought about a better understanding of the past. The celebrations and remembrance of King met the goals set by the new Statement of Diversity and Inclusion which states that Tabor’s goal is “to cultivate and sustain a more diverse and inclusive community,” and that Tabor’s “success as a 21st century school is embedded in a genuine understanding of how the components of diversity reflect the core values of our mission.”
The Center for Multicultural Education and Community Life has a new component this year called the Diversity Leadership Council. The group is made up of several faculty and staff members – Anika Walker-Johnson, Jennifer Albright, Richard DaSilva, Stephen Downes, Edwin Escobar, Anne Gardiner, Katherine Hernandez, Lauren Millette, and Noel Pardo.
This group has a number of goals, including developing “a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion,” which is based upon recommendations from a diversity assessment done of Tabor in 2013. Furthermore, the group aims to “serve as a resource to the Tabor community,” in addition to recommending, developing, and coordinating plans and methods that will help Tabor continue to be a community that is diverse and inclusive.
This year, Dean of Multicultural Education and Community Life Anika Walker-Johnson has opened her office up to all students as a “non-formal space” to relax, study, and get to know other members of the community.
This plan was set to allow students to get to know people they may not have met by coming to this common space, which is located beside the Center for International Students, which aims to achieve this same friendly atmosphere.
These locations serve as ideal places to continue to reflect on the discussions and lessons shared throughout the past week about Martin Luther King and efforts like his.
Members of the Tabor community are continuing to develop ways to further their awareness and understanding of past and current issues through group discussion.
By Julia O’Rourke