Education class works to revamp and modernize local elementary school libraries
What, exactly, does it mean to have ‘the courage to be’?
Professor of Human Development Michelle Dunlap, the keynote speaker at Connecticut College’s 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Anniversary event Jan. 29, shared her insights on the theme of the evening.
“I defined ‘the courage to be’ to mean: the courage to be who we are, without threat or abuse, and with the opportunity to be productive and successful,” she said.
Dunlap, who serves as chair of the Human Development Department, detailed a dozen things she knows about ‘the courage to be’ and what it looks like.
“I believe there’s a tension between our own quest for authenticity, the needs and expectations of others, as well as tensions among the things that keep us out of trouble, what brings us joy, what gets us a career, a job, what gets us paid,” she said. “So to figure all of this out … is a lifelong process involving a lot of introspection, trials and errors, falling down and getting back up again, and starting over at times.”
The annual event also featured welcome remarks by President Katherine Bergeron; a dance performance by Associate Professor of Dance Shani Collins-Achille; selected readings from Dr. King and other activists by Andre Thomas ’20, Kiara Rivera ’21 and Maurice Tiner ’17; and musical performances by the Co Co Beaux a cappella group and Jermaine Doris ’19.
Talking about the importance of honoring Dr. King, Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion John McKnight said, "It is important to continuously recognize the impact that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made on this nation and on the world in his short 39 years of life. He left us with a vision of a society that could exist without racial oppression and discrimination. It is a vision that we have yet to achieve, so it's important for a community of learners, like Connecticut College, to come together to continue building upon the work that King and so many others established.”
The evening concluded with a call to action and leadership charge by Truth Hunter, director of race and ethnicity programs.
“I am responsible for making this world a more socially just place for all peoples. I may not know what my contribution is today, but I am willing to find out,” attendees repeated after Hunter. “I recognize that what I do or don’t do today impacts future generations. I understand that lasting change takes time, and I am willing to take advantage of everyday opportunities to build my courage.”
Tyrone Williams ’18 said the event was particularly important in today’s political and cultural climate.
“It keeps the conversation about race relations and the fight for social justice alive. It reminds people that we are not living in a post-racial society but that we are headed in the right direction,” he said.
In honor of Black Heritage Month, students, staff and faculty are hosting a series of programs to illuminate the experiences and contributions of Black peoples throughout the African diaspora. The event schedule is as follows: