Purpose-Driven Service in the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Every year on the third Monday of January, we celebrate the life, work, and sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is widely known that Dr. King fought for a day when America would be a country of equals—when we would be judged by our merits, no matter the color of our skin, the religion we profess, or the place we were born.
The power of Dr. King’s words and the beauty of his dream are often the focus on this day. The phrase “I have a dream” is recognized by millions of Americans. Because Dr. King was one of the great orators of the 20th century, there is a tendency to focus on his inspirational quotes and powerful messages. But if we are truly to honor his legacy, particularly in these tumultuous times, we must go further. We are called to act. We must live the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Institutions of higher education have long played a key role in the struggle for civil rights. Students have so often been agents of change throughout history. Michigan Tech is a place for invention, innovation, collaboration, and transformation, where all can contribute and make a difference. It is equally imperative that we at MTU continue to work toward advancing greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. To that end, I repeat the words of Dr. King: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
If we are to move closer to becoming a nation free from inequality and injustice, I believe it will require our purpose-driven service. Service brings together people of all backgrounds and builds community across differences. It unites us through a shared commitment to a common goal or shared cause. Volunteering helps us see the humanity in each other and the ways we are alike. Further, what may seem impossible on our own is attainable when we create a culture of global volunteerism and collectively work toward our aspirational future.
On MLK Day 2021, to honor Dr. King’s legacy and his impact on his own community and the nation, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on causes you are passionate about or ways you could help others. Then tomorrow, next week, next month, and throughout your lives, I urge you to get involved.
Here are links to resources you may find useful:
I ask you to consider committing to engage in activities that not only contribute to our mutual responsibility in solving the social problems facing our nation but also break down barriers and build bridges.
As we look to the months ahead, in the spirit of purpose-driven service, my office commits to developing a strategy for creating a more inclusive environment at Michigan Tech to answer life’s most persistent and urgent question. I look forward to collaborating with all of you on this important endeavor.
“Everyone can be great because everybody can serve.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For a list of Michigan Tech's MLK Week, "More than a Day 2021" events, visit the Center for Diversity and Inclusion webpage.