Week of Racial Justice and Reconciliation

January 17, 2022

Dear campus community,

Mount Holyoke’s third annual week of racial justice and reconciliation honoring the legacies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King begins on January 18 with the National Day of Racial Healing. Each year, we begin the spring semester with a reflective series on the legacies of two outspoken activists who transformed all of our lives with a series of events entitled the Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Week of Racial Justice and Reconciliation. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rose to fame as an outspoken freedom fighter who sought to right the wrongs of the world by beginning in his own community. His speeches at the Montgomery Bus Boycott thrust him into the spotlight as a single leader of the civil rights movement in 1955, but his ongoing racial justice work was collaborative and based in community. He worked alongside other activists who made incredible sacrifices daily in the fight for freedom. His partner in life, Coretta Scott King, was also an outspoken advocate for social change. 

A quote that I am often reminded of when I think of Mount Holyoke is one attributed to Mrs. King. She stated, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” 

Our intentional and compassionate ethos is one we must all continue to focus on as so many are suffering during the ongoing pandemic. Our commemoration of Dr. King’s work and our work as a community toward greater freedoms for all of our members goes beyond a single day. We will host a series of events throughout the month, building upon the work of our 2021-2022 Common Read, “The Fire This Time.” 

As part of our racial justice work, we are excited to host a talk led by Rachel Beth Sayet, the Five College Native American Community Engagement Fellow. Her talk, Decolonizing Food is Medicine: Food Justice as Racial Healing continues our efforts to provide ongoing education and action steps related to supporting the rights of Indigenous people everywhere. 

Sybrina Fulton will present this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration entitled, “We Are All Trayvon: Fighting Racism in the 21st Century. As we remember, Ms. Fulton is the mother of Trayvon Martin, who would have been 27 years old on February 5. All are invited to attend this important virtual event. 

Please take a moment to explore the calendar listings for all events for the annual week of racial justice and reconciliation.

I also want to invite you to explore the resource guide compiled by Library Information and Technology Services (LITS). This guide contains materials and readings that we hope will be helpful to anyone who wants to continue to engage around the topic of racial justice and reconciliation.

We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Division of Student Life on all of these events. Our hope is that as we all continue to grow and learn and strive to create a better world for every one of us. 

Every day, I am grateful to be in community with each of you. 

In solidarity, 

Kijua