MLK Campus Celebration 2012

Today all citizens of the U.S. celebrate the extraordinary life and enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I know that many of your friends and family members have a “day off” today, but I’m happy that we can spend this time together, commemorating Dr. King’s inspiring words and unique voice. His was the voice that led our country through the necessary growing pains of the mid-20th century and ultimately down the long path to the place where the founders of our country would want us to be: a society where all men and women enjoy the same unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This has been an unfortunately long, but essential journey with miles to go to realize his dream.

It was just 47 years ago — within my lifetime, within any baby boomers lifetime — that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin. Dr. King’s leadership in those crucial years prior to 1964 taught us about civil disobedience and non-violent conflict, about the necessity of doing what is right over what is easy, and above all, he gave us a vision of a better world, something we, as a nation, could aspire to.

I like to think that here at Mines we are a community united in our belief that diversity is powerful, positive, and growing on our campus. We very intentionally spend the week of Delta Days in discussion with each other about what we aspire to be. Dr. King once said
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” So I encourage us as a community, and I challenge us as individuals, to spend this week celebrating Dr. King’s legacy, exploring topics of diversity, challenging ourselves to grow out of our comfort zone, but most importantly, to talk about the things that really matter.

We have help in meeting this challenge—the Diversity Committee and the broader Delta Days planning group have put together a wonderful schedule of events for the week; with food and celebration, storytelling, panel discussions, a dance, a privilege walk, and the chance to meet Dr. Vincent Harding, confidante and speechwriter to Dr. King.

As you can imagine, a lot of people put a lot of time and effort into the planning and execution of Delta Days, so it’s very exciting to see more faces in this room each year. My thanks go to Junko, Maureen, Deb, Joe Zeiman, and members of the planning committee, to all of you who have supported Delta Days and Mines diversity efforts for many years, and my thanks to all of you who are joining us for the first time. Let’s keep the momentum going— together we can achieve our goal of creating an inclusive and diverse campus community.

President Bill Scoggins
Jan. 16, 2012



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