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A Day of Reflection

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

Today, the United States of America commemorates the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His was a life devoted to the cause of freedom, and we join people across the country—and around the world—in acknowledging and celebrating his extraordinary contributions to humanity.

It feels as if an age has passed since the new year began, and all of us are in dire need of a day of reflection. As I sought words of wisdom to guide my thinking during these fraught times, I turned to Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize lecture. It is striking to read in the context of what is happening in our country right now—a searing reminder of how slowly our society has advanced and how quickly it can recede.

Yet I imagine that Dr. King would still place his faith in the ability of individuals and communities to rise in defense of democracy, equality, and justice. He might remind us that words can inspire as well as incite, and that there lies within each of us great potential to resist that which we abhor and to champion that which we love. In the days to come, may we all act with his hope for us in mind.

I encourage you to take time to read about some of the ways in which the University is connected to Dr. King and to his enduring message of nonviolence. The Office for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging has also put together a calendar of events to highlight opportunities to contemplate his life and the movement—as urgent now as it has ever been.  

All the best,