To the Virginia Tech community,

As we take time to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, I am mindful of the past 18 months spent considering Virginia Tech’s history as part of our sesquicentennial observance. As we celebrate our progress and success as a university, we also acknowledge the impact on Native and enslaved peoples, and the courageous individuals who endured discrimination and injustice to lead us to a more inclusive future.

In his book "Stride Toward Freedom: the Montgomery Story," Dr. King reminds us that “Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

We can honor Dr. King and the Hokies who have sacrificed and struggled by being “dedicated individuals” and ensuring that Virginia Tech’s future is grounded in our Principles of Community, and InclusiveVT, our institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence.

I want to thank the MLK Celebration Committee and the Office for Inclusion and Diversity for planning and sponsoring a great week of opportunities, including a faculty panel on Antisemitism and Racism in Pop Culture featuring Ellington Graves, assistant provost for inclusion and diversity, Anthony Kwame Harrison, the Edward S. Diggs Professor of Humanities, and Brian Britt, professor of religion and culture; a presentation on Living, Learning, and Adaptive Landscapes by C. Brandon Ogbunu, a writer, editor, and computational biologist at Yale University; and a keynote presentation this Thursday by Ruth E. Carter, who won the 2019 Academy Award for Costume Design in the movie "Black Panther."

You can learn more about the events this week by visiting the Virginia Tech Culture and Community Centers’ Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration page. Please take time to join your fellow Hokies in building a more inclusive university community.

Tim Sands,

Menah Pratt,
Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity

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