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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture at Harvard





Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture at Harvard

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture at Harvard aims to recognize individuals who through their dedication to activism, advocacy, scholarship, or service have made an indelible contribution to advancing justice and equality.

Loretta E. Lynch

The 2023 Honoree

Loretta E. Lynch

Loretta Lynch served as the 83rd U.S. attorney general from 2015 through 2017—only the second woman, and the first Black woman to hold that office. During her tenure, she worked to ensure equal protection of the law, notably in defense of LGBT equality in the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states. She vigorously defended the Voting Rights Act, challenged discrimination against transgender people, and worked to reform law enforcement practices and police training.

At a young age, Lynch, the daughter of a librarian and a Baptist minister, became inspired by students who planned anti-segregation boycotts at her father’s church and by listening to stories of her grandfather’s heroism in helping Black families to relocate away from locations where Jim Crow was the norm in the 1930s.

Lynch is a partner in the Paul, Weiss Litigation Department where she advises clients on government and internal investigations and on high-stakes litigation and regulatory matters. She has been named one of Benchmark Litigation’s “Top 250 Women in Litigation.” Lynch received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. in American Literature from Harvard University.

Learn more about Loretta Lynch

I am extremely proud that Loretta Lynch is a Harvard alumna. She is a courageous individual whose work offers inspiration as well as hope.

May she remind us today—and later this year—of the power of persistence in the uneven path toward justice.”

 

Lawrence S. Bacow, President of Harvard University

President Bacow speaks at a podium

About the lecture

The Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging oversees the public lecture that aims to recognize individuals who through their dedication to activism, advocacy, scholarship, or service have made an indelible contribution to advancing justice and equality. Nominations for the honoree are solicited from community members from across Harvard.

Learn more about the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging


The 2022 honoree

Freeman A. Hrabowski III

The lecture’s first honoree, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, is celebrated for his leadership in developing a national educational model for students from diverse backgrounds to excel in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Learn more about Freeman A. Hrabowski III

The Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging is now accepting nominations. All members of the Harvard community are invited to submit a nominee for the 2024 lecture. Nominees do not need to be a member of the Harvard community; individuals from a range of disciplines and backgrounds are welcome. Nominees should embody the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of civic leadership.

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