MLK Commemorative Celebration 2021
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion presented a week-long celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Events were designed to facilitate both reflection and action toward a better appreciation of and respect for the dignity of every person. While each of us has the power to make a difference ourselves, we can make the biggest impact when we work together.
On Thursday, January 28, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted the MLK Commemorative Celebration. This year’s program featured a conversation with Dr. Bernice A. King and the awarding of the annual Chancellor’s “Fulfilling the Dream” Award.
Dr. Bernice A. King is the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. She serves as the CEO of The King Center and is also a minister, activist, and highly renowned speaker.
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[00:00:05.810]On behalf of Chancellor Ronnie Green,
[00:00:08.840]our Office of Diversity and Inclusion,
[00:00:11.220]the MLK Celebration Committee,
[00:00:13.197]and our entire Husker family, welcome
[00:00:16.520]to the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
[00:00:20.920]Commemorative Celebration event.
[00:00:36.140]This event reminds us of our own journey on anti-racism,
[00:00:40.170]where we are taking a self-inventory of our actions
[00:00:43.640]and setting a course ahead for our policies, practices,
[00:00:47.350]and ultimately our climate to be anti-racist.
[00:00:51.040]We invite you to be part of our journey
[00:00:54.310]to better understand, lead, teach, support,
[00:00:59.210]and love in ways that reflect empathy,
[00:01:02.200]but also shed light on specific and intersecting issues
[00:01:06.620]related to racism, sexism, homophobia,
[00:01:10.270]native erasure, ableism,
[00:01:13.258]and the other forms that oppression and bias take
[00:01:17.160]both out loud and silently.
[00:01:20.760]I hope that this event is part of your personal journey.
[00:01:24.920]Only a few weeks ago, we witnessed on a national scale
[00:01:28.660]a mob storming the Capitol.
[00:01:30.820]And while this act calls for an examination
[00:01:33.270]of our democracy in our country,
[00:01:35.610]it also sheds light on and demonstrates
[00:01:39.370]that not all people are seen as equal
[00:01:42.340]and that individuals are judged and treated
[00:01:45.250]based on the color of their skin.
[00:01:47.830]King's hope and dream is not yet fulfilled.
[00:01:52.120]Langston Hughes spoke to a dream deferred.
[00:01:54.910]What happens when a dream is not fulfilled?
[00:01:57.640]But I hope we can still dream.
[00:01:59.680]I hope we do not lose our happiness and joy
[00:02:02.200]in the midst of hate.
[00:02:04.070]I hope that we can be and do better
[00:02:06.470]and move towards revolutionary love
[00:02:09.150]where every life and identity is valued.
[00:02:13.280]This event represents hope
[00:02:15.170]and reminds me that one person can inspire us.
[00:02:18.770]It reminds me that we are not alone
[00:02:21.440]in wanting tomorrow to be better than today.
[00:02:24.880]It reminds me that inclusive, critical leadership,
[00:02:28.620]although not easy, is required in order for us to chip away
[00:02:32.900]a systemic oppression.
[00:02:34.770]And lastly, it reminds me that finding time to celebrate
[00:02:38.520]is as important as advocacy and activism.
[00:02:43.290]Thank you for being part of this celebration
[00:02:45.800]in our journey together.
[00:02:55.310]On behalf of the MLK Week Committee,
[00:02:57.130]we welcome you to the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr.
[00:03:02.140]This year's theme continue to speak out
[00:03:04.130]against all forms of injustice, to yourselves and others,
[00:03:07.850]was designed to highlight a year
[00:03:09.610]of historic social movement and community action
[00:03:12.700]from an ongoing global health pandemic to racial unrest
[00:03:16.160]that has sparked demonstrations
[00:03:17.630]and movements across the globe,
[00:03:19.670]that calls for social justice and equity and inclusion
[00:03:22.840]reverberate loudly throughout the nation.
[00:03:25.530]This year's commemoration charges us
[00:03:27.480]to become active participants in the fight for a community
[00:03:31.130]that safeguards equity, inclusion, justice,
[00:03:33.460]and respect for all.
[00:03:34.840]We are charged to speak up, speak out,
[00:03:37.650]and engage in difficult conversations, equity-based actions,
[00:03:41.240]and to hear the words and actions of leaders
[00:03:43.260]such as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
[00:03:46.690]Each year, UNL memorializes
[00:03:48.630]the legacy of Dr. King through an annual celebration,
[00:03:52.060]honoring his life and work
[00:03:53.440]while recognizing campus and community members
[00:03:56.050]whose work epitomizes the ideals, life,
[00:03:58.630]and work of the civil rights leader.
[00:04:00.820]This work has become more pronounced and needed
[00:04:03.120]during historical unrest and insurgency
[00:04:05.710]of social and political activists.
[00:04:07.950]We hope today's event provides insight
[00:04:10.750]into both national and local leaders
[00:04:13.000]engaged in the work of social justice and community service.
[00:04:16.530]We hope it inspires both individual
[00:04:19.050]and collective action towards equality.
[00:04:24.240]While an annual celebration,
[00:04:26.360]today's event is commemorated
[00:04:28.130]following a year of reckoning,
[00:04:30.240]which was demonstrated through last year's
[00:04:32.230]50-state protests, the largest demonstration ever recorded
[00:04:36.520]in US history, occurring summer 2020.
[00:04:40.120]This year, we seek to reinforce UNL's commitment
[00:04:43.040]to diversity, equity, and inclusion
[00:04:46.230]by honoring those whose personal and professional work
[00:04:49.700]demonstrates extraordinary and sustained dedication
[00:04:53.030]to these ideals.
[00:04:54.530]Through the awarding
[00:04:55.363]of the Chancellor's Fulfilling the Dream Award,
[00:04:58.030]words of affirmation
[00:04:59.180]through our members of our campus community,
[00:05:01.860]stunning performances led by the Nebraska Repertory Theatre,
[00:05:05.390]and the St. Louis Black Repertory Company,
[00:05:08.000]and a moderated conversation with our renowned speaker,
[00:05:11.720]Dr. Bernice A. King,
[00:05:13.560]daughter of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
[00:05:16.810]and Coretta Scott King.
[00:05:19.150]At Nebraska, we have experienced several efforts
[00:05:22.160]designed to ignite action and conversation,
[00:05:25.710]including Chancellor Green's
[00:05:27.180]appointed journey to anti-racism
[00:05:29.830]led by several members of our campus leadership,
[00:05:32.750]groundbreaking research by our faculty,
[00:05:35.200]dedicated service and initiatives led by our staff,
[00:05:38.490]and several student-led efforts
[00:05:41.000]such as the Black Student Union's Care Bag Program
[00:05:44.170]for the Lincoln community.
[00:05:46.490]While our celebration is virtual in its platform,
[00:05:49.660]we have developed this experience
[00:05:51.800]to be one that engages, ignites action,
[00:05:55.050]and continues in a tradition of forward momentum.
[00:05:58.830]We invite our campus and community to commit to speaking out
[00:06:02.740]against all forms of injustice
[00:06:05.240]through service, connecting with organizations and leaders,
[00:06:08.810]both on and off campus, and supporting and engaging in work
[00:06:13.290]and efforts led by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
[00:06:17.550]Thank you for joining us in the 2021
[00:06:20.330]Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration.
[00:06:28.170]On behalf of the Office of Research
[00:06:29.830]and Economic Development,
[00:06:31.340]we are proud to support and engage in the actions
[00:06:34.000]of this year's MLK Commemorative Celebration.
[00:06:37.670]As we continue to seek to create more equitable
[00:06:40.830]and inclusive efforts for all members of our community,
[00:06:44.190]ORED stands as an advocate for
[00:06:46.520]and supporter of inclusive excellence,
[00:06:48.850]proud to meet and support the vast needs of the community.
[00:06:52.770]Now, I would like to introduce our next session.
[00:06:57.023]at the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre's fall gala,
[00:07:00.420]Pamela Dillard, accompanied by Trey Clegg,
[00:07:03.510]will perform "Three Dream Portraits"
[00:07:05.270]by African American composer and pianist Margaret Bonds.
[00:07:09.230]The music is set to the poems of Langston Hughes,
[00:07:12.157]"Minstrel Man," "Dream Variation," and "I, Too."
[00:07:40.277]♪ Because my mouth is wide ♪
[00:07:45.216]♪ With laughter ♪
[00:07:49.835]♪ And my throat ♪
[00:07:54.683]♪ Is deep with song ♪
[00:08:02.662]♪ You do not think I suffer ♪
[00:08:10.022]♪ After I have held my pain ♪
[00:08:17.142]♪ So long ♪
[00:08:27.734]♪ Because my mouth is wide ♪
[00:08:32.560]♪ With laughter ♪
[00:08:36.616]♪ You do not hear ♪
[00:08:42.118]♪ My inner cry ♪
[00:08:48.000]♪ Because my feet are gay ♪
[00:08:52.880]♪ With dancing ♪
[00:08:57.840]♪ You do not know ♪
[00:09:05.255]♪ I die ♪
[00:09:10.859]♪ You do not know ♪
[00:09:19.095]♪ I die ♪
[00:09:52.422]♪ To fling my arms wide ♪
[00:09:56.299]♪ In some place of the sun ♪
[00:10:00.402]♪ To whirl and to dance ♪
[00:10:04.102]♪ 'Till the white day is done ♪
[00:10:09.638]♪ Then rest ♪
[00:10:12.998]♪ At cool evening ♪
[00:10:16.678]♪ Beneath a tall tree ♪
[00:10:22.901]♪ While night comes on gently ♪
[00:10:27.478]♪ Dark like me ♪
[00:10:32.098]♪ That is my dream ♪
[00:10:43.317]♪ To fling my arms wide ♪
[00:10:47.062]♪ In the face of the sun ♪
[00:10:50.338]♪ Dance whirl whirl ♪
[00:10:54.378]♪ 'Till the quick day is done ♪
[00:11:01.798]♪ Rest at pale evening ♪
[00:11:10.560]♪ A tall slim tree ♪
[00:11:20.198]♪ Night coming tenderly ♪
[00:11:26.219]♪ Black like me ♪
[00:11:33.737]♪ Night coming tenderly ♪
[00:11:43.179]♪ Black like me ♪
[00:12:09.832]♪ I too sing America ♪
[00:12:15.019]♪ I am the darker brother ♪
[00:12:18.833]♪ They send me to eat in the kitchen ♪
[00:12:22.758]♪ When company comes ♪
[00:12:26.715]♪ But I laugh and eat well ♪
[00:12:30.758]♪ And grow strong ♪
[00:12:39.932]♪ Tomorrow ♪
[00:12:44.715]♪ I'll sit at the table when company comes ♪
[00:12:53.019]♪ Nobody'll dare say to me ♪
[00:12:56.918]♪ Eat in the kitchen then ♪
[00:13:03.539]♪ Besides ♪
[00:13:09.257]♪ They'll see how beautiful ♪
[00:13:14.877]♪ I am ♪
[00:13:22.394]♪ And be ashamed ♪
[00:13:49.740]Well, thank you very much, Pamela and Trey
[00:13:52.020]for that wonderful "Three Dream Portrait" performance.
[00:13:56.620]It touched my heart, as I know it did all of us.
[00:13:59.860]And I'm so looking forward to Dr. Bernice King
[00:14:02.900]and the conversation that we're going to have here today.
[00:14:07.220]I'd like to thank and acknowledge
[00:14:09.140]members of the university community
[00:14:11.180]who've organized our week of events.
[00:14:14.160]This is a little unusual, this whole year.
[00:14:16.740]Of course, past year has been unusual,
[00:14:19.770]that we're a little lighter than normal.
[00:14:22.870]So thanks to our university community.
[00:14:25.590]We were able to adapt to the schedule we've had this year
[00:14:29.330]and be able to plan such a wonderful MLK Week.
[00:14:32.980]So thanks to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,
[00:14:35.640]the MLK Week Committee for all of the great work
[00:14:39.260]in staging this week's events.
[00:14:42.020]I have the pleasure of presenting
[00:14:44.620]the Chancellor's Fulfilling the Dream Awards today,
[00:14:48.340]to honor individuals who have contributed
[00:14:51.080]to the university of Nebraska-Lincoln community
[00:14:54.520]or the wider Lincoln community
[00:14:57.420]by their exemplary action and promoting the goals and vision
[00:15:01.240]of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
[00:15:04.660]This past year, we know, has been one of deep reflection,
[00:15:09.860]listening, talking, and figuring out what comes next
[00:15:13.270]for our nation and for our institution.
[00:15:16.910]Leaders in our broader community and on our campus
[00:15:20.920]have acknowledged that we must take real steps
[00:15:24.000]to address racial inequities and a history of exclusion.
[00:15:28.930]We must take them now.
[00:15:30.730]Now must be different.
[00:15:33.220]Today, we recognize three individuals,
[00:15:36.690]who, by their very action, are leaders among us.
[00:15:41.310]For the first time in history,
[00:15:42.950]and I'm very pleased about this,
[00:15:45.420]in our award ceremony today, it gives me great pleasure
[00:15:49.050]to present an Honorable Mention Campus Award
[00:15:53.340]to Batool Ibrahim.
[00:15:56.650]Batool led UNL's Black Student Union,
[00:15:59.710]and giving back to the community,
[00:16:01.860]speaking out about violence against black communities,
[00:16:05.670]and sparking change.
[00:16:07.900]This past summer, the group began providing
[00:16:11.090]care packages to local families
[00:16:13.870]who are struggling to get food and necessities
[00:16:16.190]during the COVID-19 pandemic.
[00:16:19.270]As one of Batool's peer nominators wrote,
[00:16:22.607]"She leads with integrity
[00:16:24.507]"and desire for her community to thrive."
[00:16:28.530]With Batool's leadership,
[00:16:30.360]the Black Student Union raised thousands of dollars
[00:16:33.920]and created conversations among city officials
[00:16:37.010]and among university leaders.
[00:16:39.810]Their work continues today.
[00:16:42.140]And Batool is leading their efforts saying, and I quote,
[00:16:46.167]"Remember how revolutionary it is to take up space."
[00:16:52.001]Batool is from Lincoln.
[00:16:53.970]She is a junior undergraduate student with us here at UNL,
[00:16:58.740]studying global studies and political science.
[00:17:02.580]Please join me in thanking Batool Ibrahim
[00:17:05.400]for her leadership.
[00:17:07.050]And it's of great pleasure to present her
[00:17:10.030]this Honorable Mention Award.
[00:17:14.580]Receiving the 2021 Campus Fulfilling the Dream Award
[00:17:18.660]is Dr. Helen Fagan.
[00:17:21.950]Helen has a long history of activism.
[00:17:25.300]As a professor of Diversity and Leadership,
[00:17:28.090]she works tirelessly to challenge her students
[00:17:30.860]to confront their biases and to work to overcome them.
[00:17:34.910]Her impact affects UNL, the state of Nebraska,
[00:17:39.370]the nation, and beyond.
[00:17:42.290]As one of her nominators wrote,
[00:17:44.537]"Dr. Fagan draws on her experience as a native of Iran:
[00:17:49.067]"given the opportunity to live
[00:17:50.997]"and work in the United States,
[00:17:53.087]"to lovingly reach out and positively impact
[00:17:56.557]"every person she encounters."
[00:17:59.650]Helen is currently working
[00:18:01.170]with the Lincoln Police Department
[00:18:03.090]to reform policies and practices to reflect inclusivity
[00:18:07.220]and to challenge implicit biases.
[00:18:10.400]She also works with the recently, I should say,
[00:18:13.260]expanded and renovated Nebraska Rural Fellows program
[00:18:17.500]for our students, placing students in rural communities
[00:18:21.750]where they use inclusive leadership
[00:18:23.890]to build stronger communities.
[00:18:26.740]Many of Helen's students have shared the tremendous impact
[00:18:29.380]she has had on their lives,
[00:18:30.960]and I would share a few of their comments with you.
[00:18:34.850]She is one of the best leaders for women,
[00:18:37.130]diversity and inclusion I've ever met.
[00:18:39.890]And my life is different because of her influence.
[00:18:44.470]Dr. Fagan meets students with grace and understanding,
[00:18:47.550]as they begin to uncover and understand
[00:18:50.040]pre-existing ideas they may hold.
[00:18:53.240]You don't come out of her classes the same way you entered,
[00:18:56.820]and you don't look at the world
[00:18:58.400]the same way you used to see it.
[00:19:01.680]She demonstrates the power of suspending judgment
[00:19:04.890]and the importance of understanding the why
[00:19:08.000]behind someone's behavior.
[00:19:10.510]The cross-cultural integration skills
[00:19:12.610]that cultivated in her classroom have enriched my life.
[00:19:16.930]And finally, Helen opened my eyes to see prejudice,
[00:19:20.980]discrimination, oppression, and systemic racism
[00:19:24.410]and created environments of safety, honesty, and humility,
[00:19:28.970]pushing students to dig deep and find
[00:19:31.390]where our prejudices are rooted,
[00:19:33.670]and how to combat those thoughts and actions.
[00:19:37.340]She taught us how to value education, pushing us to unlearn
[00:19:42.800]and learn for the sake of being the new generation
[00:19:46.200]of compassionate, courageous, empathetic,
[00:19:49.010]listening allies and leaders.
[00:19:52.600]Dr. Helen Fagan pushes those around her
[00:19:55.170]to be vulnerable to work hard,
[00:19:57.300]to become more inclusive people to those around them,
[00:20:00.900]and has made a significant impact on both UNL
[00:20:05.080]and the Lincoln community.
[00:20:07.120]Please join me in thanking Dr. Helen Fagan.
[00:20:23.820]Thank you, Chancellor Green
[00:20:25.230]and the MLK Committee for this great honor.
[00:20:28.710]I was genuinely in shock when I was notified.
[00:20:32.000]Never in my wildest dreams did I think
[00:20:35.340]I would receive this award,
[00:20:37.370]and especially during an event hosting Dr. Bernice King
[00:20:42.340]as the keynote speaker.
[00:20:44.220]I am humbled and grateful by the nomination
[00:20:47.140]and the selection, mainly because
[00:20:50.190]I know the incredible individuals
[00:20:52.420]who've won this award in the past.
[00:20:54.850]Dear educators, leaders, whom I like to call my friends,
[00:20:59.460]Dr. Gwen Combs, Dr. Karen Kassebaum, Ms. Charlie Foster,
[00:21:04.990]and my dear friend Ms. Charlene Maxey-Harris,
[00:21:08.700]they have each inspired me in their own way.
[00:21:12.690]When I entered this country, a 15-year-old student
[00:21:16.250]to an international boarding school in Central Florida,
[00:21:19.840]I was a frightened young girl
[00:21:21.910]without any adult family members in this country.
[00:21:25.930]Little did I know that my fears would exponentially increase
[00:21:30.550]just two months later, when 65 American citizens
[00:21:34.780]were taken hostage after the attack
[00:21:37.410]on the United States Embassy in Iran.
[00:21:40.890]Living through the hate thrust upon us,
[00:21:43.970]Iranian students made me work hard to lose my foreign accent
[00:21:49.560]and do everything in my power to blend in
[00:21:52.900]and hide my identity as an Iranian.
[00:21:56.580]Every cell of my body felt the hate
[00:22:00.510]and anger of people who were judging me
[00:22:03.510]based on my national origin,
[00:22:05.830]instead of the content of my character.
[00:22:09.480]It wasn't until decades later that I would realize
[00:22:12.950]the impact of those early years.
[00:22:15.270]It took a great deal of work on my part,
[00:22:17.850]and the love and encouragement of so many people,
[00:22:21.860]for me to be here and to be the person that I am today.
[00:22:26.730]Realizing the dreams of my parents to attain a PhD
[00:22:31.860]when they sent me to go to this country for an education,
[00:22:38.090]I am indebted to my husband and my sons
[00:22:41.360]for their deep encouragement and support.
[00:22:44.870]In the nearly 30 years
[00:22:46.500]of doing diversity, equity, and inclusion work,
[00:22:50.010]I've come to firmly believe
[00:22:52.060]that we cannot expect our organizations, our schools,
[00:22:57.900]our communities, and even our places of worship
[00:23:01.900]to realize the dreams of Dr. King
[00:23:05.170]until we take a look within ourselves
[00:23:08.710]and figure out our own biases
[00:23:11.130]and the ways those biases impact our words,
[00:23:15.310]our actions, and our decisions.
[00:23:18.290]My approach has been to challenge students and leaders
[00:23:22.780]with one question:
[00:23:25.270]Who would you not want your child to bring home
[00:23:28.520]as their future spouse?
[00:23:31.180]To my students, I ask, who would you be most afraid
[00:23:34.870]to bring home as your future spouse?
[00:23:38.410]I ask this because I believe,
[00:23:41.060]most of us sincerely believe and agree,
[00:23:45.830]with the words of Dr. King,
[00:23:48.200]while not recognizing our own biases
[00:23:51.870]until our biases show up at the door
[00:23:55.920]as the future spouse of our children or grandchildren.
[00:24:00.800]My challenge doesn't stop with the question.
[00:24:03.650]I want people to not only uncover
[00:24:05.600]the answer to that question,
[00:24:08.270]but to really understand the impact of that answer
[00:24:12.760]on their personal and professional lives.
[00:24:16.320]Most students do the work
[00:24:18.430]because they know it's linked to their grade.
[00:24:21.330]Often, leaders who are humble and willing to grow
[00:24:25.310]make time to do the work.
[00:24:27.870]Since I began asking the question nearly 20 years ago,
[00:24:31.970]I've observed the transformative power
[00:24:34.610]of the work on individuals.
[00:24:37.230]I've had the privilege to come alongside students
[00:24:40.870]and leaders as they dedicate time and energy
[00:24:44.610]to become the kind of person who authentically strives
[00:24:49.380]to live out the tenets of Dr. King's dreams.
[00:24:53.000]Those who are willing to dig deep often uncover
[00:24:57.150]that the narrative that they've believed about a population
[00:25:01.010]comes from the fear caused by their own ego,
[00:25:04.410]or pain inflicted by a single person
[00:25:07.320]which they blanketed over a whole population,
[00:25:10.500]or misinformation shared by someone they love or admire.
[00:25:16.210]The truth is the bricks of injustice
[00:25:19.450]lie in the heart and mind of each one of us.
[00:25:23.380]We will not realize the dreams of Dr. King
[00:25:26.700]until we do this internal work.
[00:25:29.080]We begin to take down the bricks of systemic racism
[00:25:33.640]when we remove our ego, our fears, and biases
[00:25:38.090]as the barriers to someone else's success.
[00:25:41.560]Until we grapple with those bricks,
[00:25:43.860]we will struggle to create a workplace, school, or community
[00:25:49.160]free of injustice.
[00:25:51.850]My life's purpose and my heart's passion
[00:25:55.580]has been and will continue to be
[00:25:58.370]to come alongside others on this journey
[00:26:02.290]while boldly challenging my own ego, my own fears,
[00:26:07.720]and my own biases.
[00:26:09.920]I implore you to look deep within,
[00:26:13.580]answer the question earnestly,
[00:26:15.850]then embark on the journey:
[00:26:18.120]a journey where the answers unfold within each one of us,
[00:26:23.260]creating a collective move toward the fruition
[00:26:27.090]of Dr. King's dreams.
[00:26:29.139]Thank you very much.
[00:26:31.637]Thank you for those words, Helen.
[00:26:34.760]And I'll just add a personal note here.
[00:26:37.870]I recall sitting in Helen's office a number of years ago
[00:26:43.270]and her asking me those questions as well.
[00:26:46.430]So congratulations, Helen, and thank you for those words.
[00:26:52.310]Next, it gives me great pleasure to present
[00:26:55.060]the 2021 Community Fulfilling the Dream Award
[00:26:59.250]to Mr. Leonard Yankton.
[00:27:02.040]Mr. Yankton is a community leader,
[00:27:04.330]who has demonstrated a clear trajectory of activism
[00:27:07.840]regarding indigenous concerns.
[00:27:10.770]As an advocate for the Native American community in Lincoln
[00:27:14.260]and surrounding areas, he works to bring awareness
[00:27:17.820]to police aggressiveness and/or brutality
[00:27:21.130]perpetrated against people of color,
[00:27:23.610]and to the issue, the significant issue I should add,
[00:27:27.000]of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
[00:27:31.060]Leonard successfully advocated for the establishment
[00:27:34.150]of indigenous people's day in Lincoln.
[00:27:37.470]He's been a frequent speaker
[00:27:39.690]in ethnic studies and sociology courses here at UNL
[00:27:44.080]and the Lincoln Correctional Center.
[00:27:46.860]According to his nominators,
[00:27:48.870]Mr. Yankton leaves students highly engaged
[00:27:52.140]and riveted to their seats,
[00:27:54.280]as he shares his insights and wisdom
[00:27:56.610]about defying stereotypes, championing untold stories,
[00:28:02.430]rising above low societal expectations,
[00:28:05.870]and helping those persons with good intentions
[00:28:08.620]toward indigenous communities to turn good intentions
[00:28:12.330]into positive impacts.
[00:28:14.820]He has lectured in Sweden, Denmark,
[00:28:17.830]and Northern Scandinavia,
[00:28:19.590]drawing parallels between the indigenous peoples of Sweden
[00:28:23.060]and the indigenous peoples of the United States,
[00:28:26.030]sharing his experiences both on and off
[00:28:29.250]of the Lakota Sioux reservation,
[00:28:31.760]and his knowledge of Native American culture, history,
[00:28:35.010]and current issues.
[00:28:37.160]Leonard Yankton's personal history,
[00:28:39.610]past and current activism,
[00:28:41.880]and dedication to indigenous rights at the grassroots level,
[00:28:45.960]provide him with complex understandings
[00:28:48.580]about the needs of natives on many paths,
[00:28:51.660]including sobriety, finding ways out of poverty,
[00:28:55.630]dealing with historical trauma,
[00:28:57.860]and being seen and included in the mainstream population.
[00:29:02.490]He demonstrates the work that must be done
[00:29:05.970]to positively impact indigenous peoples.
[00:29:09.730]Please join me in thanking and honoring Mr. Leonard Yankton.
[00:29:19.750]My name is Leo Yankton.
[00:29:22.120]I am Oglala Lakota
[00:29:25.810]from the Pine Ridge Native Reservation in South Dakota.
[00:29:31.670]My tribe is commonly known as Sioux Indians.
[00:29:35.695]We're actually are the poorest reservation
[00:29:39.730]with the lowest life expectancy in America.
[00:29:43.530]And I have directed a lot of my efforts
[00:29:46.640]towards empowering my people back home,
[00:29:49.780]but also working to support local communities
[00:29:52.870]as well as raising awareness about issues
[00:29:59.410]in our country and the world.
[00:30:03.610]And it has actually spread to me
[00:30:07.820]being an international speaker as well.
[00:30:11.240]So a lot of my efforts that I have done up to this point
[00:30:16.940]have basically given me, personally,
[00:30:23.130]the feeling that I should be taken seriously now.
[00:30:28.220]But as far as deserving of an award,
[00:30:33.440]I don't actually feel, personally,
[00:30:35.100]that I deserve any awards
[00:30:38.348]and in all good conscience to accept an award
[00:30:47.121]of this magnitude.
[00:30:48.760]I have to think about people like Martin Luther King Jr.,
[00:30:54.420]and even more local heroes like Frank LaMere,
[00:31:03.750]Russell Means, Susan La Flesche Picotte,
[00:31:12.560]even Chief Standing Bear.
[00:31:15.940]And one thing I could think of
[00:31:17.810]is the fact that they were probably very humble
[00:31:20.510]and they probably didn't think that they needed
[00:31:25.140]to be given any accolades either.
[00:31:28.410]But in all good conscience, to accept an award like this,
[00:31:32.950]I would have to accept it, not thinking that I deserve it,
[00:31:37.960]but thinking that I will earn this.
[00:31:40.800]I will keep continuing to make efforts
[00:31:43.650]to earn this for the rest of my life.
[00:31:47.873]Because when I think of Martin Luther King,
[00:31:51.270]I think of him as the one who would probably be humble
[00:31:54.400]and also think that he didn't need a bunch of accolades,
[00:31:59.370]but that he was doing the work he was doing
[00:32:04.470]because it needed to be done
[00:32:06.850]and because it was the right thing to do.
[00:32:10.370]And so I will continue to do the right thing
[00:32:13.790]and I appreciate accepting this award.
[00:32:25.663]of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources,
[00:32:28.320]we hope that your experiences
[00:32:29.920]during the Martin Luther King Commemorative Celebration
[00:32:32.950]have been inspirational and informative.
[00:32:36.430]At IANR, our mission calls for us to value diversity,
[00:32:39.440]create opportunity, accelerate inclusion,
[00:32:42.710]foster belonging, and maximize impact.
[00:32:46.120]We stand as advocates
[00:32:47.990]and supporters of inclusive excellence,
[00:32:50.420]proud to meet and support the vast needs
[00:32:52.990]of our campus community.
[00:32:55.750]I would like to introduce the next part of our program.
[00:32:59.040]Students from the Johnny Carson
[00:33:00.700]School of Theatre and Film at UNL
[00:33:02.760]will perform two monologues.
[00:33:05.540]Brannon Evans offers a selection from "Fires in the Mirror,"
[00:33:10.230]Anna Deavere Smith's documentary drama
[00:33:13.120]about the Crown Heights race riots in 1991.
[00:33:17.960]This excerpt is a portion of an interview
[00:33:20.500]with American playwright and journalist, Thulani Davis.
[00:33:25.420]Nadia Williams will then perform a monologue
[00:33:28.790]from August Wilson's "The Pittsburgh Cycles,"
[00:33:32.570]a 10-play series depicting African American life
[00:33:35.910]in the 20th century America.
[00:33:38.530]This monologue is from the ninth play in the cycle,
[00:33:41.860]King Hedley II, and takes place in Pittsburgh in 1985.
[00:34:03.017]I think we need to develop new ways
[00:34:04.520]of looking at community.
[00:34:06.800]Race in the old sense has become
[00:34:08.430]an increasingly obsolete way of constructing community,
[00:34:11.980]because it's based on immutable biological facts
[00:34:15.330]in a pseudoscientific way.
[00:34:18.220]Now, this does not mean that we ignore racism.
[00:34:20.790]Racism is at the origin of this concept of race.
[00:34:24.120]It's not the other way around.
[00:34:26.050]There we're not racists,
[00:34:27.430]this one race who suddenly came to dominate the others.
[00:34:30.800]In fact, in order for European colonists
[00:34:33.260]to attempt to conquer the world,
[00:34:36.130]to colonize the world, they had to construct this notion
[00:34:39.730]of the populations of the earth
[00:34:41.600]being divided into certain firm biological communities.
[00:34:45.640]And that's what I think we ought to go back and reconsider.
[00:34:49.740]So when I use the word race, now I put it in quotations,
[00:34:53.370]because if we don't transform this in-transit,
[00:34:56.400]rigid notion of race, we will be caught up in this cycle
[00:34:59.940]of genocidal violence that is at the origin of our history.
[00:35:04.160]So I think I'm convinced,
[00:35:07.270]and that's what I'm working on
[00:35:08.410]in my political practice right now,
[00:35:10.720]that we have to find different ways of coming together,
[00:35:13.970]not the old notion of coalition
[00:35:15.880]in which we anchor ourselves very solidly
[00:35:18.320]in our specific racialized communities
[00:35:21.160]and simply voice our solid solidarity with other people.
[00:35:25.510]I'm not suggesting that we do not anchor ourselves
[00:35:27.450]in our own communities.
[00:35:28.990]I feel very anchored in my various communities.
[00:35:32.240]But I think that, to use a metaphor,
[00:35:35.240]the rope attached to that anchor
[00:35:37.360]should be long enough to allow us
[00:35:38.900]to move into other communities, to understand and learn.
[00:35:43.870]I've been thinking a lot about the need
[00:35:45.180]to make more intimate these connections and associations
[00:35:48.070]and to really take on the responsibility of learning.
[00:35:52.010]So we need to find ways of working with
[00:35:54.520]and understanding the vastness
[00:35:56.280]of our many cultural heritages,
[00:35:58.820]ways of coming together without rendering invisible
[00:36:04.070]I don't have all the answers.
[00:36:06.430]What I'm interested in is communities that are not static,
[00:36:10.740]that can change,
[00:36:12.700]that can respond to new historical changes.
[00:36:16.520]It's a very exciting moment.
[00:36:31.120]I ain't raising no kid to have somebody shoot him.
[00:36:35.470]To have his friend shoot him.
[00:36:37.250]To have the police shoot him.
[00:36:38.870]Why I wanna bring another life into this world
[00:36:40.820]that don't respect life?
[00:36:44.932]I don't want to raise no more babies
[00:36:47.030]when you got to fight to keep 'em alive.
[00:36:52.770]Take little buddy Will's mother up on Bryn Mawr road.
[00:36:56.370]What she got?
[00:36:58.750]A whole lotta heartache that ain't gonna never go away.
[00:37:01.480]She sittin' up there in her living room right now.
[00:37:04.020]Just sittin' there.
[00:37:05.330]She can't stand.
[00:37:07.540]She's sittin' there trying to figure out what happened.
[00:37:12.040]One minute her house is full of life.
[00:37:14.150]And the next it's full of death.
[00:37:15.480]She was waiting for him to come home,
[00:37:16.930]and they brought her a corpse!
[00:37:20.710]Say, "Come down and make the identification.
[00:37:24.327]"Is this your son?"
[00:37:27.800]Got a tag on his toe that say John Doe.
[00:37:31.670]They got to put a number on it.
[00:37:33.040]John Doe number four.
[00:37:36.870]She got dinner on the table.
[00:37:40.870]Say, "Junior like fried chicken."
[00:37:44.420]She got some of that.
[00:37:46.160]Say, "Junior like string beans."
[00:37:47.780]She got some of that too.
[00:37:48.660]She don't know that Junior ain't gonna be eating no more.
[00:37:54.415]You got a pile of clothes she got to wash up.
[00:37:57.660]Don't know that Junior don't need clothes no more.
[00:38:01.538]She look in the closet, Junior ain't got no suit.
[00:38:03.760]She got to go buy him a suit.
[00:38:05.040]And he can't try it on, she got to guess the size.
[00:38:09.220]Somebody come up and tell her,
[00:38:10.447]"Oh Miss So-and-so, your boy got shot."
[00:38:14.930]And she know it before they say it.
[00:38:18.670]Her knees start to get weak.
[00:38:21.210]She's shaking her head.
[00:38:22.043]She don't wanna hear it.
[00:38:22.876]And somebody called the police.
[00:38:26.850]They come and they pick him up off the sidewalk.
[00:38:30.020]Dead nigger on Bryn Mawr Road.
[00:38:34.350]They got to quit playing cards to come pick him up.
[00:38:40.270]They used to take pictures.
[00:38:43.330]They don't even take pictures no more.
[00:38:46.260]They pull him out of the freezer and she look at him.
[00:38:49.960]She don't want to, but they make her look.
[00:38:51.670]And what to do now?
[00:38:55.420]Only thing left to do was call the undertaker.
[00:38:58.180]Oh, but the line is busy.
[00:39:00.690]She got to call five times.
[00:39:02.530]The undertaker got so much business
[00:39:04.050]he don't know what to do.
[00:39:06.870]He losing sleep.
[00:39:08.970]He got to hire two more people to help him
[00:39:11.390]on top of the other two he already got.
[00:39:15.410]He don't even know what the bodies look like no more.
[00:39:18.410]He couldn't tell you what they look like.
[00:39:20.600]He only remembered the problems we have with them.
[00:39:23.060]This one's all big and fat over here.
[00:39:24.970]If he fall off the table,
[00:39:25.910]it's gonna take six men to pick him up.
[00:39:29.270]And this one, that one ain't got no cheek.
[00:39:32.210]Oh, and this one's eyes won't stay closed.
[00:39:34.120]This one, this one been dead so long,
[00:39:37.570]he got maggots coming out of his nose.
[00:39:42.040]And this one right here, his mother won't go home.
[00:39:50.013]And the other, hmm.
[00:39:54.320]I ain't going through that.
[00:39:57.700]I ain't having this baby,
[00:39:59.180]and I ain't got to explain it to nobody.
[00:40:09.200]On behalf of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[00:40:12.380]we welcome Dr. Bernice A. King
[00:40:14.750]to our 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr.
[00:40:17.770]Commemorative Celebration as our honored guest and speaker.
[00:40:22.500]Dr. Bernice A. King is a global thought leader, orator,
[00:40:26.880]peace advocate, and chief executive officer
[00:40:30.060]of the Martin Luther King Jr.
[00:40:31.910]Center for Nonviolent Social Change, The King Center,
[00:40:36.420]which was founded by her mother,
[00:40:38.450]Coretta Scott King, in 1968.
[00:40:41.880]She was appointed CEO of The King Center in 2012,
[00:40:45.610]by the Board of Trustees.
[00:40:47.800]From this position, the same one once held by her mother,
[00:40:51.780]this transformative leader steadfastly continues her efforts
[00:40:55.680]to advance her parents' legacy of Kingian Nonviolence,
[00:41:00.240]which Dr. King rebranded Nonviolence365.
[00:41:05.100]Through her work at The King Center,
[00:41:07.260]Dr. King educates youth and adults
[00:41:10.050]about the nonviolent principles modeled by her parents.
[00:41:14.050]In 2012, she implemented an annual NOW encounter summer camp
[00:41:19.820]which has engaged youth from New Mexico,
[00:41:22.630]South Carolina, Michigan, Alabama,
[00:41:26.130]and as far away as the Island of Cyprus.
[00:41:29.440]Because of the impact the camp, now called CAMP NOW,
[00:41:33.070]had on their lives, youth from Cyprus returned
[00:41:36.220]two years in a row.
[00:41:38.630]Dr. King spearheaded
[00:41:40.160]the Let Freedom Ring and Call to Action event
[00:41:43.200]to commemorate the 50th anniversary
[00:41:45.660]of the March on Washington and her father's famous
[00:41:49.087]"I Have a Dream" speech.
[00:41:51.540]This global event included then President Obama,
[00:41:55.180]former Presidents Clinton and Carter,
[00:41:57.860]and members of Congress,
[00:41:59.490]as well as many other international leaders,
[00:42:02.350]dignitaries and entertainers.
[00:42:05.940]Dr. Bernice A. King is a graduate of Spelman College
[00:42:09.130]with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology,
[00:42:10.970]and of Emory University,
[00:42:12.270]with a Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Law.
[00:42:15.270]She has also received
[00:42:16.320]an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree
[00:42:18.350]from Wesley College.
[00:42:19.970]In honor of her mother, Coretta Scott King,
[00:42:22.260]she returned to her alma-mater, Spelman College
[00:42:24.690]to announce the establishment of the Be A King Scholarship.
[00:42:27.890]Dr. King is currently a member
[00:42:29.500]of the State Bar of Georgia and a trained mediator.
[00:42:32.400]She is also a member of the International Women's Forum
[00:42:35.180]and National Council of Negro Women.
[00:42:37.810]Dr. King has been featured on numerous television shows,
[00:42:40.700]in magazines, as a television commentator,
[00:42:43.130]and is the recipient of a host of awards and accolades.
[00:42:46.690]In April 2008, she was one of the 15 delegates
[00:42:49.900]selected to meet Pope Benedict XVI
[00:42:52.110]during his visit to the United States.
[00:42:54.740]On March 12, 2018,
[00:42:56.790]while being honored by the Center of Gandhi
[00:42:58.620]in Montelone di Puglia,
[00:43:00.120]Dr. King was privileged to have a private meeting
[00:43:02.570]with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
[00:43:04.950]A noted author, she has to her credit,
[00:43:06.977]"Hard Questions, Heart Answers,"
[00:43:08.970]a compelling and inspiring book.
[00:43:11.640]Dr. King is an innovative, energetic and committed leader
[00:43:14.800]dedicated to taking her parents' legacy and teachings,
[00:43:17.760]The King Center, and the work of creating a more peaceful,
[00:43:20.530]just, humane world with Nonviolence365 into a new era.
[00:43:25.450]Please join me in welcoming our esteemed speaker
[00:43:27.740]to our 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr.
[00:43:32.020]in a moderated conversation with Dr. Nkenge Friday,
[00:43:35.310]Assistant Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives.
[00:43:42.610]Thank you all so much for joining us
[00:43:44.150]for this conversation with Dr. Bernice King.
[00:43:47.250]Our university is honored to have Dr. King
[00:43:49.730]as our keynote speaker
[00:43:51.040]for the 2021 MLK Commemorative Celebration.
[00:43:55.110]Welcome, Dr. King.
[00:43:56.220]We are so honored to have you here
[00:43:58.770]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:44:01.100]Of course, at Lincoln Nebraska,
[00:44:02.630]we're a Central Standard Time.
[00:44:04.530]Thank you so much for joining us today.
[00:44:07.170]Sure, thank you for having me.
[00:44:08.800]I said a little bit earlier that our theme this year
[00:44:11.900]is actually, "Continue to speak out
[00:44:13.947]"against all forms of injustice to yourselves and others,
[00:44:17.737]"and you will set a mighty example
[00:44:19.277]"for your children and for future generations."
[00:44:22.060]This actually is a quote that is attributed to you,
[00:44:24.580]and so we thank you for that.
[00:44:26.110]Any thoughts about our quote that we're using this year
[00:44:28.440]for our MLK commemoration?
[00:44:32.930]Any thoughts about the quote that you just said?
[00:44:35.920]Yes, ma'am, the quote that we're
[00:44:37.916]attributing to you.
[00:44:38.749]You know, I think it's self-explanatory.
[00:44:42.120]The best way I know how to reemphasize it
[00:44:44.720]is with another quote.
[00:44:47.020]My mother said that, "Struggle is a never ending process.
[00:44:51.237]"Freedom is never really won.
[00:44:53.147]"You earn it and win it in every generation."
[00:44:56.940]That quote is so powerful to me
[00:44:59.790]because it helps us all understand
[00:45:02.090]our responsibility to the freedom struggle
[00:45:04.220]that every generation is literally called,
[00:45:07.840]to that freedom struggle.
[00:45:09.810]An individual may attempt to opt out,
[00:45:13.020]but the generation is not exempt.
[00:45:15.290]So we all have a responsibility to the freedom struggle
[00:45:19.717]and to fight and advance
[00:45:21.920]for justice and equity in our society.
[00:45:24.970]And we do it so that we ensure
[00:45:28.830]that we are passing the right kind of legacy
[00:45:30.980]to the next generation.
[00:45:34.830]And part of what we frame this year for our university
[00:45:37.690]was ways in which we wanted this conversation
[00:45:39.870]really to reflect for those in the Lincoln-Nebraska area,
[00:45:43.520]but also those listening across the nation right now.
[00:45:46.670]We are in some pretty unprecedented times.
[00:45:48.780]And so with that being said,
[00:45:50.000]I do wanna pose a question to you,
[00:45:52.310]which really frames what we're thinking at our university.
[00:45:55.580]So we are a land-grant institution,
[00:45:57.750]we are the intellectual center for the state of Nebraska,
[00:46:00.520]and we really do provide
[00:46:01.600]the leadership and education research.
[00:46:03.870]And part of our designation means
[00:46:05.900]that the citizens of Nebraska benefit from the knowledge
[00:46:08.880]and the research that's generated
[00:46:10.380]by our faculty and students,
[00:46:12.190]which, of course, includes the work of diversity,
[00:46:14.980]equity, and inclusion.
[00:46:16.560]And with this in mind, what are some ways
[00:46:18.810]land-grant institutions in particular can serve as leaders
[00:46:22.320]in the current fight towards racial equity
[00:46:24.530]and we can truly pursue social justice?
[00:46:29.600]You know, I think one of the critical places to start
[00:46:33.590]is extending the research past what
[00:46:39.270]is traditionally relied upon when we do research.
[00:46:44.410]When we look at the history of the United States of America,
[00:46:48.280]from a racial inequity lens, there are so many new museums,
[00:46:56.280]there are so many new thought leaders
[00:46:58.660]and voices on the subject.
[00:47:01.680]There's a new museum in Montgomery,
[00:47:04.230]the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration,
[00:47:08.270]these are resources that I think would be critical
[00:47:12.310]for your institution to look at in terms of research.
[00:47:16.970]Because what we're gonna have to do going forward,
[00:47:19.020]one, is we have to reeducate people.
[00:47:21.600]There's been a mass miseducation
[00:47:25.910]in the United States of America,
[00:47:27.560]and that's not just confined to the white community,
[00:47:31.180]that's all communities.
[00:47:32.500]There's a lot of missing information.
[00:47:35.670]There's a lot of falsity, and lies, and half truths.
[00:47:41.710]And we would do ourself a disservice
[00:47:44.330]if we continue to move forward
[00:47:45.790]and not engage in that massive reeducation campaign.
[00:47:51.330]And I think land-grant institutions,
[00:47:54.380]like the University of Nebraska and others,
[00:47:56.860]can play a very critical role in that research
[00:48:00.840]and creating new offerings.
[00:48:02.940]And what I mean by that is coming up with new courses
[00:48:07.110]based off of the new research
[00:48:10.410]and using it as a pilot and an opportunity
[00:48:14.820]to influence other universities to do the same thing.
[00:48:18.890]So, for me, that's what's most important,
[00:48:21.830]'cause everybody is talking about justice and equity
[00:48:27.160]and trying to figure out, okay, what do we put in place,
[00:48:29.720]but if we don't reeducate people,
[00:48:32.040]what we put in place will be just as faulty.
[00:48:35.630]And so research is so vital to that,
[00:48:39.570]and certainly the right research.
[00:48:42.037]And so that's why I mentioned the other new resources,
[00:48:47.560]I call them new resources.
[00:48:49.060]And I'm not quite sure how they're offering
[00:48:55.960]their services today in light of the pandemic,
[00:49:00.160]but I do encourage everyone who is listening to me,
[00:49:03.570]when you get an opportunity,
[00:49:04.950]please take advantage of the museum that I mentioned,
[00:49:09.320]the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.
[00:49:13.110]And then they also have the Memorial to mention victims.
[00:49:16.711]For me, it is the most critical museums
[00:49:23.790]in terms of understanding the birth of white supremacy
[00:49:28.590]and how it has weaved itself into our systems
[00:49:32.380]and structures in our country.
[00:49:35.010]And that enlightenment and knowledge is so critical
[00:49:38.750]if we're talking about building a society
[00:49:42.870]that's truly equitable and truly just.
[00:49:48.660]Thank you for that.
[00:49:50.040]And part of this has made me thinking, as you're talking,
[00:49:52.730]I'm just reflecting on my own personal experiences,
[00:49:55.480]but, of course, efforts that we have underway
[00:49:58.040]at our university.
[00:49:59.360]I would be remiss if I didn't mention
[00:50:01.080]this past January, of course, just a few weeks ago.
[00:50:04.320]And I will be honest and say
[00:50:05.560]that I absolutely am a follower of yours
[00:50:07.630]on various forms of social media.
[00:50:09.990]And so when I got this privilege to talk to you,
[00:50:12.080]one of the questions that was really burning for me:
[00:50:14.810]where do we move forward?
[00:50:16.200]As we're thinking about January sixth in particular,
[00:50:19.570]the storming of the US Capitol,
[00:50:21.290]I think we saw a lot of people in particular
[00:50:23.990]across the United States, but also globally,
[00:50:26.340]start to really question where we are in the United States
[00:50:28.830]when it comes to our own democracy,
[00:50:31.300]but questions about racial equity
[00:50:33.180]were really front and center.
[00:50:34.400]And I, of course, was streaming through
[00:50:36.490]and looking at some of your own thoughts there,
[00:50:38.530]but my question is really, as we're thinking about this,
[00:50:40.920]we are so polarized, things seem to be so divisive,
[00:50:44.010]but how do we engage in these conversations,
[00:50:46.090]especially as you're thinking about ways
[00:50:47.650]we can create education and curriculum,
[00:50:49.700]but how do we engage in conversations
[00:50:51.440]when the current sentiment and climate are volatile,
[00:50:54.140]and they really do seem to be impassable at this point?
[00:50:58.890]Well, we have to kinda change our approach
[00:51:03.160]to how we look at people
[00:51:04.790]and how we engage in these conversations.
[00:51:11.490]We have a tendency to draw a line in the sand
[00:51:16.650]when people are either offensive or they have different ways
[00:51:22.480]of thinking than we do.
[00:51:25.015]We have this cancel culture.
[00:51:28.361]When we disagree, vehemently, we cancel you.
[00:51:34.430]And when you're talking about the beloved community,
[00:51:37.450]which my mission is really helping us
[00:51:41.320]to create that beloved community
[00:51:43.317]that my father talked about,
[00:51:44.510]and my mother expanded upon in our world,
[00:51:49.580]it's gonna take a lot of shifting of traditional ways
[00:51:56.470]of looking at things.
[00:51:58.360]And what I mean is extracting from Stephen Covey
[00:52:03.657]"The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,"
[00:52:06.280]that's a book that he wrote,
[00:52:08.751]and there are a couple of them that I can talk about.
[00:52:10.260]One is begin with the end in mind.
[00:52:13.750]I think what we suffer from right now
[00:52:15.300]is we don't have a vision of what we want our world to be.
[00:52:20.840]And so I'm casting this vision that Dr. King popularized.
[00:52:25.790]He didn't coin it.
[00:52:27.690]Josiah Royce did.
[00:52:30.540]But he popularized the beloved community.
[00:52:32.720]Because without that vision, people perish.
[00:52:34.730]They cast off restraint.
[00:52:36.100]They go wild.
[00:52:38.560]They take matters into their own hand.
[00:52:40.720]But when you have that end in mind,
[00:52:43.350]then everything has to line up with that.
[00:52:45.800]You have to ask critical questions, is this effort,
[00:52:49.610]is this initiative, is this policy
[00:52:54.220]lined up with getting us towards the beloved community?
[00:52:59.573]And so with that vision in mind, the second thing he said,
[00:53:02.560]which I wanna really hone in on
[00:53:04.110]when you're talking about these conversations,
[00:53:06.330]is seek first to understand, then to be understood.
[00:53:11.100]And that's hard for people.
[00:53:12.130]We go into conversations,
[00:53:14.410]even when we're conversing with people,
[00:53:17.150]though, I won't say conversing,
[00:53:18.270]but communicating with people on social media,
[00:53:21.800]in so many short phrases and words,
[00:53:25.290]we're always trying to get our point across.
[00:53:28.230]We're always trying to prove
[00:53:29.970]that you're wrong and I'm right,
[00:53:32.750]as opposed to thinking about the beloved community,
[00:53:35.960]how can I exercise my energy
[00:53:39.900]to win over the person's understanding and friendship?
[00:53:42.810]So I've gotta do the reverse.
[00:53:44.520]I've gotta be willing to set the example
[00:53:47.720]and seek to understand.
[00:53:51.110]And so critical questions,
[00:53:52.520]instead of going into the conversation,
[00:53:56.720]trying to express your point of view or your perspective,
[00:54:01.790]you come as a listener and a learner.
[00:54:05.650]Because what happens is you end up,
[00:54:09.810]you end up causing the person to let down their defenses.
[00:54:14.560]If people feel like they're getting ready
[00:54:16.210]to engage in something where they're gonna be attacked,
[00:54:19.841]I wouldn't say everybody, but a lot of people who do wrong,
[00:54:22.380]they know they're doing wrong.
[00:54:25.240]So to reemphasize that to them is not gonna work.
[00:54:28.160]It's just gonna further create polarization and division.
[00:54:31.440]And I'm gonna give you this example
[00:54:32.273]because it was shared with me in another context,
[00:54:36.350]and I'm gonna kinda shorten it.
[00:54:38.210]In Mississippi, there were a couple of individuals,
[00:54:41.760]and it was more than a couple involved,
[00:54:43.610]but there were a couple of individuals
[00:54:45.740]looking at the issue of the flag.
[00:54:48.310]And, of course, one wanted the flag
[00:54:52.045]to be pulled down and removed,
[00:54:56.040]the other one want it to remain.
[00:54:57.890]And we know that story around the flag.
[00:55:00.000]A lot of people who relate to it, as part of their,
[00:55:02.940]they feel it's part of their legacy.
[00:55:06.100]They have an affinity for it, out of the Confederacy.
[00:55:10.580]And then the offensive nature, for the rest of us.
[00:55:14.400]Instead of that person seeking to prove that person wrong
[00:55:19.130]and how offensive this is,
[00:55:21.120]the person went into the conversation and said,
[00:55:24.450]what does that flag mean to you?
[00:55:27.360]We have to really show people that they matter.
[00:55:32.390]Forget what they think.
[00:55:35.980]And everybody wants to feel like they matter,
[00:55:38.810]even in their erroneous, faulty thinking.
[00:55:43.330]That caused the person to let down their defenses
[00:55:46.760]and they began to engage in this discussion
[00:55:48.830]about what does it mean to you?
[00:55:50.840]And they went even further to the point that just last year,
[00:55:54.340]the flag came down.
[00:55:56.010]If we want change, we have to be willing
[00:55:59.800]to give up our right to be right
[00:56:02.580]and focus more on how do I connect with this individual.
[00:56:07.480]And then in the process of connecting,
[00:56:09.650]finding a common pathway forward.
[00:56:13.740]So I mean, that's what the beloved community is about.
[00:56:17.725]That's what we do to The King Center
[00:56:18.558]through our education and training,
[00:56:19.830]helping people understand the win-win outcome.
[00:56:24.160]Because none of us are winning right now.
[00:56:25.930]We're all losing.
[00:56:27.180]It doesn't matter if you individually feel like
[00:56:29.180]you're doing well.
[00:56:30.470]As daddy said, "We're caught in an inescapable network
[00:56:32.497]"of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
[00:56:35.207]"And what affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
[00:56:38.300]And I can't be that I ought to be
[00:56:39.597]until you that you ought to be.
[00:56:42.240]And so it's worth our investment
[00:56:46.540]to approach this in a different manner.
[00:56:50.100]If we're serious about having the conversations,
[00:56:55.440]dropping the defenses so that we can explore a reeducation,
[00:57:01.700]because now that person was educated
[00:57:03.100]on why that flag was meaningful to them,
[00:57:05.370]and this person was educated on why that flag was offensive,
[00:57:09.840]but they didn't start out trying to correct the person
[00:57:13.680]and attack the person.
[00:57:17.929]So let me say this.
[00:57:20.150]We've been doing these beloved community talks
[00:57:22.040]on a larger scale, but we've partnered with a group
[00:57:25.130]called Civic Dinners.
[00:57:26.660]So if you go on civicdinners.org
[00:57:29.560]and look for Beloved Community Talks,
[00:57:31.660]we have a whole toolkit
[00:57:33.500]on how you can approach these conversations
[00:57:35.790]and set 'em up in Nebraska based off of that toolkit.
[00:57:41.370]And it has to be done on a small scale basis,
[00:57:45.950]that I know we have some restrictions with socially,
[00:57:49.890]being social distanced now.
[00:57:52.280]But we have to get creative.
[00:57:53.710]Get on your Zoom, get on your teams, or what have you,
[00:57:57.380]and have your own meal in front of you
[00:58:01.590]and that person on Zoom and have those conversations.
[00:58:05.640]And not with like-minded people,
[00:58:09.110]because that's not going to,
[00:58:12.384]we're not gonna make any progress that way.
[00:58:15.390]Thank you for that.
[00:58:16.223]And again, reflecting.
[00:58:18.750]I was born and raised in Mississippi,
[00:58:20.870]Jackson, Mississippi, to be specific, and I can say,
[00:58:23.760]that flag conversation is definitely one that has,
[00:58:26.410]for that state in particular, for my state,
[00:58:28.740]has been ongoing.
[00:58:29.760]And even though, recently, we have a new flag,
[00:58:33.080]we no longer fly the Confederate flag as the state flag,
[00:58:35.900]those conversations took a long time.
[00:58:37.740]There were difficult conversations,
[00:58:39.490]and it was a very tumultuous history.
[00:58:41.657]But I can tell you that, essentially,
[00:58:44.530]it is so important to engage in conversation.
[00:58:46.490]So thank you for that, Dr. King.
[00:58:48.380]And as we're thinking about this,
[00:58:50.750]especially you're bringing in words,
[00:58:52.510]last year, our theme was actually
[00:58:54.430]we're tied in network of this mutuality,
[00:58:57.680]and we often bear witness to your father being heralded
[00:59:01.250]for his words and actions during and for civil rights.
[00:59:05.190]And you touched on this,
[00:59:06.630]and I really do want us to think about it
[00:59:08.600]as we're looking at our university in particular,
[00:59:11.800]to what extent has your father's dream been fulfilled?
[00:59:15.180]So in other words, have we made sufficient progress?
[00:59:18.220]But also, our university recently started own journey
[00:59:21.880]towards anti-racism and justice,
[00:59:24.660]social justice in particular, this past summer,
[00:59:27.500]and do you have any advice for us
[00:59:29.560]as we're going through our own journey
[00:59:31.330]that's being led by our chancellor
[00:59:32.540]here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
[00:59:36.760]Well, I would say, to all the naysayers,
[00:59:39.980]that there has been some progress.
[00:59:44.120]I would certainly not say we have fulfilled the dream
[00:59:46.610]because the dream is not about the advancement of a person.
[00:59:53.541]And I say that because I think so many people,
[00:59:56.990]particularly in the white community,
[00:59:59.270]felt that we had reached this kind of post-racial society
[01:00:04.810]when President Obama was elected.
[01:00:08.210]And this was the fulfillment of Dr. King's dream,
[01:00:11.750]which should be furthest from the truth.
[01:00:13.820]His dream was about the upliftment and dignity
[01:00:17.450]of all people, and in particularly, at that time,
[01:00:20.650]African Americans as a group of people.
[01:00:24.450]And just because there's one, does not mean that upliftment
[01:00:28.630]and that equity has been achieved.
[01:00:33.560]And so I would say, if anything,
[01:00:36.330]the part of his dream that has been fulfilled
[01:00:39.140]is when he talks about the children joining hands.
[01:00:42.670]He talked about Stone Mountain.
[01:00:45.720]Back in, I forget the actual year,
[01:00:47.777]but we celebrated my mother's 75th birthday
[01:00:51.930]at Stone Mountain, which, to me, was like, wow,
[01:00:55.770]look how far we've come.
[01:00:57.420]That was a place where it was prohibited,
[01:00:59.380]and very dangerous for blacks to gather,
[01:01:03.410]and let alone enjoy anything.
[01:01:06.720]And so the joining together, the connection,
[01:01:10.660]which is very vital, that people don't realize,
[01:01:14.350]that some people feel like it's worse,
[01:01:18.320]because the black community is worse economically.
[01:01:21.040]And when we went into segregated times,
[01:01:22.920]we had our own businesses.
[01:01:25.220]But the reality is there is only so much wealth
[01:01:31.670]within the black community.
[01:01:34.910]If you think about it, the reason that white American,
[01:01:38.580]corporate America is wealthy is because of us.
[01:01:42.840]We help them, unwillingly, through slavery.
[01:01:49.430]That's how they developed their wealth.
[01:01:51.976]So we live in a world where we are interrelated,
[01:01:55.410]interconnected, and rely upon each other,
[01:01:57.450]and so we need to be in a society
[01:01:59.640]where blacks can have businesses in other communities
[01:02:03.787]and have patrons from other communities
[01:02:06.040]and not just our communities.
[01:02:07.567]And so what that dream was about was, first,
[01:02:10.700]how do we break down that barrier that keeps us segregated
[01:02:15.810]and not having certain opportunities and some access?
[01:02:21.092]And I think we accomplished a great deal of that
[01:02:23.910]in the sense that legalized segregation,
[01:02:27.520]what we call de jure segregation is no more.
[01:02:31.370]De facto is very real, by practice.
[01:02:36.080]There are people that still believe
[01:02:39.190]in the segregated circumstances, situations
[01:02:42.130]that people in power, who try to reinforce it.
[01:02:45.230]But there are laws in place now,
[01:02:47.550]where we can challenge those kinds of things.
[01:02:49.790]I think that's critical for people to understand.
[01:02:52.150]We have the opportunity to have a voice in our government.
[01:02:56.810]Look what just happened down here in the South.
[01:02:59.990]We sent to Congress, I mean, to Senate,
[01:03:02.810]Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff,
[01:03:08.882]a Jewish brother and a Christian brother,
[01:03:11.770]but a black brother, unheard of in the South.
[01:03:15.320]That would not have happened had not my father's movement,
[01:03:19.397]and that dream of us having
[01:03:22.510]a voice in our government happen,
[01:03:25.770]and the passages we know of the Voting Rights Act.
[01:03:29.530]So he was casting an ultimate vision,
[01:03:31.670]which is really about the beloved community,
[01:03:34.100]but he was also speaking about processes to get there.
[01:03:38.180]And some of those processes have been achieved,
[01:03:40.530]which they were aiming for.
[01:03:42.170]Civil Rights Act, that did occur,
[01:03:46.620]that gives us rights and protections now.
[01:03:49.330]The Voting Rights Act, although it had been watered down,
[01:03:52.370]thank God, because of this recent election
[01:03:54.530]where we had a voice.
[01:03:56.510]We now have the possibility of the restoration
[01:04:00.270]of the Voting Rights Act.
[01:04:02.930]And so I think we've made tremendous progress,
[01:04:04.990]particularly on the political front
[01:04:07.270]in terms of the African Americans.
[01:04:08.680]We still have great economic disparities.
[01:04:12.070]We still have the disparities across every spectrum
[01:04:15.630]of American life.
[01:04:17.077]And so the work that has to be done now is really,
[01:04:22.670]we're educating people in all of our institutions
[01:04:30.790]for a world that just doesn't exist.
[01:04:33.800]We have this faulty notion that we live
[01:04:36.930]in this very diverse and inclusive society
[01:04:39.330]and everybody has an equal opportunity.
[01:04:41.670]And so we have to really look hard
[01:04:44.270]at how do we really prepare our students
[01:04:48.360]to become participants in creating this new America
[01:04:53.880]that is founded on truth, not just diversity,
[01:04:58.010]but in inclusion and that is moving towards equity.
[01:05:02.620]And let people understand equity.
[01:05:04.410]There's a diagram, some of you've seen it on the Internet,
[01:05:07.770]that explains the difference between equality and equity.
[01:05:12.850]Equality means sameness.
[01:05:14.920]If the school system on the north side of town gets 500,000,
[01:05:17.820]the school system on the south side of town gets 500,000,
[01:05:24.030]They were treated equally.
[01:05:25.380]But the problem is the south side had so many
[01:05:31.080]And so they're gonna need more so that it can be equal.
[01:05:35.630]And so we've gotta start letting people understand.
[01:05:40.940]Let's move the conversation.
[01:05:42.210]I'm glad we're doing that,
[01:05:43.160]away from just equality to really equity.
[01:05:47.010]And what is the work that needs to be done
[01:05:48.850]to create that equity in our society?
[01:05:54.310]Thank you, and speaking of historic elections,
[01:05:57.380]during the inauguration of President Biden
[01:05:59.490]and Vice President Harris, poet Laureate Amanda Gorman
[01:06:03.450]delivered a stirring poem that has really taken the nation,
[01:06:06.290]I say, by storm.
[01:06:07.630]It's resonated with so many people.
[01:06:10.040]And as we focus on developing a university community
[01:06:13.130]that creates a more just, humane,
[01:06:15.480]and peaceful environment for all,
[01:06:19.050]how can we, in the words of Amanda Gorman, quote,
[01:06:22.567]"lay down our arms so we can reach out to our,
[01:06:25.737]"we can reach out our arms to one another
[01:06:27.917]"and to seek harmony to none and harmony for all?"
[01:06:36.010]I don't wanna simplify it,
[01:06:38.470]but some of this really is simple.
[01:06:41.730]In this sense.
[01:06:43.620]I'm gonna steal from one of the most popular brands
[01:06:49.380]in our country.
[01:06:50.213]We just gotta do it.
[01:06:54.599]I think we're making a lot of this complex
[01:06:57.490]because of our fears.
[01:07:06.020]The fears and distrust.
[01:07:08.700]Those are two of the greatest enemies
[01:07:10.360]of our ability to let down.
[01:07:12.541]A lot of people in the black community
[01:07:14.750]don't trust the white community.
[01:07:16.440]Because through our years of struggle,
[01:07:20.400]there's not been coming alongside.
[01:07:24.840]And a lot of people, perhaps in the white community
[01:07:28.360]have fears, but they're unfounded fears.
[01:07:31.180]They're groundless fears.
[01:07:32.980]They've been based off of a lot of propaganda.
[01:07:36.990]And so if we're gonna get there, what I alluded to earlier,
[01:07:43.480]we're gonna have to do that work in those groups
[01:07:49.350]of kinda disarming each other
[01:07:53.290]and making personal commitments.
[01:07:57.080]I mean, we're in a personal assessment time.
[01:08:01.350]This is not about one group of people
[01:08:04.740]or another group of people
[01:08:07.570]in terms of who participates in the change.
[01:08:11.890]This is about everybody participating in the change.
[01:08:14.370]But in order to that, you gotta do a personal inventory
[01:08:18.650]of where you are in all of this.
[01:08:20.700]Your own implicit biases.
[01:08:24.840]Your own lack of information, ignorance.
[01:08:31.499]And whatever fears or distrust or whatever that is you have.
[01:08:36.950]And everybody has to decide to make an individual commitment
[01:08:42.000]to the process and join, join efforts.
[01:08:44.690]There's a lot going on right now in this nation,
[01:08:47.560]in a good way.
[01:08:50.040]And people need to join some of the things,
[01:08:53.907]that there's so many initiatives,
[01:08:56.420]there's so many efforts that are happening.
[01:08:59.270]Oh, I don't know, we have a lot of stuff
[01:09:01.420]happening here in Atlanta.
[01:09:03.690]I just wish we would find a better way
[01:09:05.280]to coordinate all of this.
[01:09:07.600]'Cause sometimes I think we're running over each other.
[01:09:10.805]And I think we can be much more impactful
[01:09:12.470]if we look at the resources that we have,
[01:09:15.540]if you look at all the resources
[01:09:16.830]you have there in Nebraska,
[01:09:19.010]you could be the convener of organizing
[01:09:22.600]all of these resources in a way that's meaningful,
[01:09:26.890]that also invites people into the process.
[01:09:33.700]I don't know what that would be,
[01:09:35.400]but every time I'm sittin' in a meeting in Atlanta
[01:09:38.860]and people are talking about racial equity,
[01:09:41.610]I'm like, are you aware of this group over here
[01:09:44.500]and what they're doing?
[01:09:46.320]How do we pull all this together, look at it together
[01:09:50.470]so we're moving synergistically
[01:09:54.960]and we're ensuring that we are being inclusive enough
[01:10:01.140]that everybody has not just a place of involvement,
[01:10:06.830]but also has a part of the plan to move forward.
[01:10:13.060]The danger is to do something for something
[01:10:18.910]without involving the people
[01:10:22.660]in the initial stages of the planning
[01:10:25.540]that you're doing something for.
[01:10:27.760]It's about doing it with.
[01:10:32.300]And speaking of this, so this past summer,
[01:10:34.530]and we've mentioned this a few times,
[01:10:36.170]but we witnessed historic, 50-state protests,
[01:10:38.850]in response to the deaths of George Floyd,
[01:10:41.210]Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others.
[01:10:44.710]These movements were also local,
[01:10:46.810]in our own city, in our own state,
[01:10:49.470]as many of our students
[01:10:50.630]and organizations-led demonstrations, they led drives,
[01:10:53.920]they really were designed to highlight racial inequity,
[01:10:57.060]social injustice, and really historic marginalization.
[01:11:01.040]What are your thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement
[01:11:03.880]and just similar movements that we see today?
[01:11:08.446]You know, my first thought is, thank God
[01:11:13.450]that these young people wouldn't let up.
[01:11:19.840]It would've been so tragic
[01:11:21.880]if young people around this nation
[01:11:25.110]were not galvanized to say no more.
[01:11:30.220]We will no longer wait.
[01:11:32.930]We are making certain demands.
[01:11:37.140]And that persistence has paid off.
[01:11:42.500]Have we solved anything yet?
[01:11:46.470]But what we've done, which is critical,
[01:11:50.080]is that we've awakened some sleeping giants
[01:11:55.990]in different sectors across this nation.
[01:11:59.760]And I know because I've been in conversations
[01:12:02.650]with many of them.
[01:12:06.570]There are people seriously, like never before,
[01:12:11.020]really looking at how do we create a more equitable society.
[01:12:17.580]How do we create a more equitable corporation?
[01:12:20.810]How do we create equity in our educational system?
[01:12:24.360]That's because these young people
[01:12:25.630]under the banner of Black Lives Matter
[01:12:30.080]kept at the forefront.
[01:12:31.760]And even as it kept, quote, unquote,
[01:12:33.510]dying down after one police doin' after another,
[01:12:38.600]they kept coming back and coming back.
[01:12:43.140]And we applaud them for that.
[01:12:46.480]And so many people around this country now are organizing,
[01:12:52.770]people are talking about agendas
[01:12:55.670]for the current administration,
[01:12:59.180]people are talking about plans,
[01:13:00.750]as I said in Atlanta here, through our Chamber of Commerce,
[01:13:04.420]a racial equity plan coming out of our business community.
[01:13:09.860]That's because of Black Lives Matter.
[01:13:11.810]Let's just be frank.
[01:13:14.620]And because what happened with George Floyd,
[01:13:19.950]had people not gotten out there,
[01:13:22.870]it just would've been dismissed.
[01:13:26.100]People had to get out there under that banner.
[01:13:29.830]And it started with Trayvon.
[01:13:32.690]And then we see the birth in the Black Lives Matter.
[01:13:34.640]People were clear that this wasn't about all lives matter.
[01:13:39.900]It became clear, we are bringing from 2012,
[01:13:44.890]really from the movement, but into this new age
[01:13:49.240]Black Lives Matter you all.
[01:13:50.680]So when you see this happen with George Floyd,
[01:13:53.560]this is what we've been talking about.
[01:13:55.570]Thank God for the pandemic,
[01:13:57.490]because you've been forced to really reckon with this stuff.
[01:14:02.010]We want police reform, but that ain't it.
[01:14:06.230]We want to deal with systemic racism
[01:14:09.860]that has created the environment for all of this.
[01:14:13.180]So let's look at this in the face.
[01:14:15.490]So thank God.
[01:14:16.323]What I would say, though, in light of that,
[01:14:19.970]is this is the best opportunity
[01:14:23.000]with the new administration, a new climate.
[01:14:27.890]In terms of the words that are coming out of Washington,
[01:14:32.450]this is the opportunity to really do what my father said,
[01:14:36.480]which is, "The nettlesome task
[01:14:38.697]"is to discover how to organize
[01:14:41.307]"our strength into compelling power,"
[01:14:44.420]so that those in power cannot elude our demands.
[01:14:48.640]So my challenge and charge to the generations behind me
[01:14:56.070]is to really spend that time organizing and strategizing
[01:15:01.780]around your strengths, the strengths that are needed
[01:15:05.750]to bring about certain policy changes with public safety,
[01:15:11.080]policy changes in voting,
[01:15:13.950]policy changes dealing with education and health,
[01:15:17.080]and we can run the gamut, economics,
[01:15:21.038]the economy, jobs, wealth creation, et cetera,
[01:15:29.390]Create the plan and the strategy and then work it,
[01:15:33.090]but do it where everything is coordinated.
[01:15:35.830]'Cause that's what I fear right now,
[01:15:37.760]is that everybody's kinda running
[01:15:39.090]in all these different directions
[01:15:41.010]and we might water down our ability
[01:15:47.250]to make substantial change.
[01:15:51.800]And speaking of, what we're thinking of especially,
[01:15:54.330]I think we always frame things historically
[01:15:56.250]and then we frame them in modern context.
[01:15:59.480]And many people assume that the historic civil rights fight
[01:16:02.630]was just that, it's historic, it was a long time ago.
[01:16:07.870]But how do we help people really draw those parallels
[01:16:10.810]between the civil rights movement
[01:16:12.650]to the current cause for social justice?
[01:16:14.540]Because again, we love to quote Dr. King,
[01:16:17.730]to hear those words,
[01:16:18.730]especially during this time of the year.
[01:16:20.680]But right now, there are current calls for those,
[01:16:23.060]those very calls for justice still resonate.
[01:16:25.700]So how do we help people to draw those parallels
[01:16:27.660]between the '60s, the '50s to currently where we are?
[01:16:31.690]And how do we provide people and individuals
[01:16:35.070]with ways they can become partners towards this,
[01:16:37.680]this fight towards equity and justice?
[01:16:41.300]Well, I think that's where you're,
[01:16:42.993]when you talk about research institution again,
[01:16:46.790]taking that research and putting it in a form
[01:16:50.410]where people can look side by side.
[01:16:53.130]This was the '50s and '60s charted out.
[01:16:57.150]This is what happened.
[01:16:58.710]This is now.
[01:17:03.530]People need to see where those issues
[01:17:09.380]still are with us.
[01:17:13.810]For instance, poverty is still,
[01:17:20.010]if not worse, is still as bad, if not worse, today,
[01:17:24.280]as it was when my father launched
[01:17:26.850]the Poor People's Campaign.
[01:17:29.560]We can say that, but people need to see the stats,
[01:17:32.490]they need to see the data.
[01:17:35.240]And a lot of times that's enough for people,
[01:17:40.167]to say, I get it, and not say, well, that's over.
[01:17:45.880]I don't know how anybody right now
[01:17:49.460]could assume that what was in history
[01:17:54.660]is still historical.
[01:17:58.838]The Voting Rights Act itself.
[01:18:01.480]When you think about the way
[01:18:03.170]in which people were disenfranchised back in the day
[01:18:06.477]and the efforts that were made
[01:18:10.090]in some of our elections over the last few years
[01:18:14.610]to disenfranchise, closing down the areas
[01:18:17.480]so people have a long distance to go to try to vote.
[01:18:22.510]That becomes a barrier and purposeful,
[01:18:26.680]instead of making it readily available.
[01:18:30.200]In the '60s, they had issues like that too.
[01:18:34.270]I heard the story about Rev. Otis Moss,
[01:18:37.750]Rev. Otis Moss Sr., who went to a polling place
[01:18:40.920]because he thought it was this place.
[01:18:42.560]And then he got there and they said,
[01:18:43.910]no, you need to go to this other place
[01:18:45.575]and he had to walk back to another place.
[01:18:48.263]And he got to the other place
[01:18:49.960]and then they sent him to another place.
[01:18:51.207]By the time he got there, he couldn't vote,
[01:18:54.040]because it was closed.
[01:18:55.240]Time was up.
[01:18:57.710]That's no different than what I just spoke about
[01:18:59.980]in terms of shutting down those polling places,
[01:19:02.650]making it hard for people.
[01:19:05.520]So it's not historical.
[01:19:07.160]What happened historically,
[01:19:08.970]'cause I wanna talk about this side of it too,
[01:19:11.430]is that 'cause we have the statement,
[01:19:15.527]that was my granddaddy's move.
[01:19:19.870]And a lot of times it comes out as if we're more radical.
[01:19:23.360]Well, is it radical to fight people
[01:19:26.530]or is it radical to have the discipline
[01:19:29.410]to stand up strong and know how to protect yourself,
[01:19:33.540]take blows and not blow somebody else
[01:19:36.160]because you're willing to sacrifice enough
[01:19:38.170]for a greater cause?
[01:19:39.400]And when you examined that movement,
[01:19:41.060]Andrew Young made an important point recently,
[01:19:44.090]the majority of them lived
[01:19:48.820]past my father's assassination.
[01:19:50.850]Yes, my father lost his life.
[01:19:52.770]But Andrew Young is 80-something,
[01:19:54.460]Joe Lowery lived to be in his 90s,
[01:19:56.580]John Lewis, 80, and it was cancer,
[01:20:01.020]Dr. C.T. Vivian, these are all people
[01:20:03.060]that were in the midst of this
[01:20:04.670]and got beat upside the head, but they are here.
[01:20:08.250]What came from that sacrifice
[01:20:10.810]that allows this generation to even benefit
[01:20:15.710]and do some of the things that they're doing
[01:20:17.930]that they wouldn't be able to do
[01:20:19.250]if those people had not stood strong in violence.
[01:20:23.430]So that movement is very relevant to now
[01:20:26.830]because what you're faced with,
[01:20:28.898]the giants that we are faced with,
[01:20:30.750]is gonna take the same galvanization and discipline
[01:20:34.560]to face and overcome and create new possibilities.
[01:20:41.940]And I forgot the second part of the question, I'm sorry.
[01:20:44.350]No, that's okay.
[01:20:45.621]There was another part to that question.
[01:20:47.400]So essentially I'm looking--
[01:20:48.770]You said, make--
[01:20:51.170]So we're really thinking about ways
[01:20:52.510]we're individualizing this as well,
[01:20:55.460]for those who are looking at movements
[01:20:57.640]and where do we fit in.
[01:20:59.220]I know one thing we received for our,
[01:21:01.430]before we had this program,
[01:21:02.860]a lot of questions thinking about it on an individual level,
[01:21:05.500]how can I contribute as well on an individual level,
[01:21:09.280]as we're thinking about the histories behind this,
[01:21:11.940]of course, we're thinking about history
[01:21:13.070]versus modern context, but how do we essentially
[01:21:17.090]encourage those people to see the parallels
[01:21:18.710]between this and now and how they can be also ambassadors
[01:21:23.010]for equity, justice, and inclusion?
[01:21:27.490]Well, when people are looking at then and now
[01:21:31.620]and becoming ambassadors, the best thing is to
[01:21:36.990]connect with people who are doing the work
[01:21:41.030]that parallels the then and now.
[01:21:45.720]I think there's this searching
[01:21:48.710]that there's something I can do that's new and different.
[01:21:52.650]And we got a lot of the answers
[01:21:56.450]and we have a lot of things and ingredients that's needed,
[01:22:01.100]we just gotta connect, and individuals have to connect.
[01:22:05.620]Don't try to create something new,
[01:22:08.370]find something that fits your passion and connect with it.
[01:22:12.480]If you are a policy person,
[01:22:14.660]see how you can connect with color change.
[01:22:16.830]What are ways you can amplify what they're doing?
[01:22:20.680]What are ways that you can complement
[01:22:22.510]what they're doing on the policy side?
[01:22:26.250]We have the NAACP and the efforts that they're doing.
[01:22:29.850]In fact, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund just announced
[01:22:35.830]they're going to be providing scholarships
[01:22:39.890]for students who are interested in going into law
[01:22:42.480]and practicing in specifically the racial justice area.
[01:22:46.160]They're gonna fund that education
[01:22:48.550]because we need more attorneys like Ben Crump.
[01:22:54.650]And so what can I do?
[01:22:55.940]I'm a student and I'm trying to figure out
[01:22:58.078]of going to law school.
[01:22:58.911]What better way?
[01:22:59.950]Seek that opportunity out.
[01:23:04.010]Whatever's happening in Nebraska.
[01:23:06.820]Because I think you'll get frustrated
[01:23:10.600]if you try to come up with what I can individually do,
[01:23:14.993]it's really not about individually do,
[01:23:16.940]it's what we're gonna do collectively.
[01:23:19.150]And so attach.
[01:23:22.520]Find out what exists.
[01:23:26.880]And the only time we should create somethin' new
[01:23:31.030]is if we really are filling a gap.
[01:23:34.420]When Bryan Stevenson created that museum, that was a gap.
[01:23:38.110]We had the Museum for American History and Culture,
[01:23:41.920]African American Museum for History and Culture,
[01:23:44.760]but that museum didn't put that story
[01:23:46.630]of white supremacy together,
[01:23:48.560]and the lynching on how that was tied into it
[01:23:51.240]in the matter that he did.
[01:23:54.160]I mean, that's the only thing I know to say to individuals.
[01:23:56.810]Because when I hear that, I hear this frustration
[01:23:59.460]and this drive to kinda wanna create something.
[01:24:05.490]I'm always telling people,
[01:24:06.560]please don't create too many more nonprofits,
[01:24:08.730]there are too many in America.
[01:24:11.210]Those nonprofits needs your financial support.
[01:24:13.560]They need your talents and your creativity.
[01:24:21.800]And my final question for you, Dr. King.
[01:24:24.520]You once said that Kingian Nonviolence
[01:24:26.830]is a way of thinking and living,
[01:24:28.970]and is not confined to the work of social
[01:24:31.320]and systemic change.
[01:24:33.880]Can you give us more context to this,
[01:24:35.690]in ways we can embrace this thinking,
[01:24:37.480]specifically this Kingian Nonviolence.
[01:24:40.110]Especially again, in a very noisy,
[01:24:42.150]a very chaotic nation that we're currently living in,
[01:24:45.610]how can we embrace this thinking
[01:24:47.120]as we move forward collectively?
[01:24:52.280]The formal definition that we give
[01:24:54.010]from The King Center is that nonviolence,
[01:24:58.920]this is a love-centered way of thinking, acting,
[01:25:02.290]and speaking that leads to social, cultural,
[01:25:08.500]and personal transformation.
[01:25:12.670]Nonviolence for us, and for my father,
[01:25:20.400]was not a tactic.
[01:25:22.070]It was a way of life.
[01:25:25.560]He believed that you would engage in this way of interacting
[01:25:30.980]and engaging in every arena of your life,
[01:25:35.480]not just as something we use
[01:25:37.160]when it's time to address social inequity,
[01:25:41.070]but something that you put on
[01:25:42.870]when you're engaged in conflict, when there's chaos.
[01:25:47.730]And so just personally, one of the ways people can begin
[01:25:51.600]to do it even simply is on social media.
[01:25:55.720]We have a lot of combative conversations on social media
[01:26:00.060]that seek to destroy people, denigrate people,
[01:26:06.940]And our response is always,
[01:26:09.080]if you insult me, I'm gonna insult you.
[01:26:11.840]Well, nonviolence as a way of life,
[01:26:14.040]and we call it Kingian Nonviolence,
[01:26:16.924]for us it's Nonviolence365.
[01:26:18.985]It's a 365-day love-centered way of thinking,
[01:26:23.770]acting, and speaking.
[01:26:26.060]Can I still get my point across
[01:26:29.120]without attacking your character?
[01:26:34.400]Because human nature is, and most of us were raised,
[01:26:37.440]you better stand up for yourself.
[01:26:39.310]Don't let nobody run over you.
[01:26:41.430]And we kinda teach people to attack when they're attacked.
[01:26:46.470]You can still resist wrongdoing.
[01:26:49.360]You can still resist people's insults
[01:26:52.330]and still speak your truth.
[01:26:54.820]But you have to do it in a way
[01:26:57.140]that leaves even that person with dignity
[01:26:59.720]and almost, it's something that I had to pass through,
[01:27:03.250]it's kind of a violent statement, but I understood it.
[01:27:06.560]He used to tell me, kill him and let him live.
[01:27:10.474]What I heard him say is, whatever you do in engaging people,
[01:27:16.950]leave them with life, leave them with dignity.
[01:27:21.830]Because at the end,
[01:27:23.060]this is one of the principles of nonviolence,
[01:27:25.520]nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice and evil
[01:27:30.900]and not people.
[01:27:32.010]So your aggression should be toward the injustice.
[01:27:35.290]If they said some unjust words or whatever,
[01:27:38.420]think about those words
[01:27:40.160]and think how you can challenge those words
[01:27:43.120]without diminishing that person.
[01:27:46.650]Take time to do that.
[01:27:47.610]We're so swift and quick to act
[01:27:49.957]and we're so drawn into this instant culture
[01:27:57.050]that we've gotta regain and retain our humanity.
[01:28:05.630]Because when you engage in that,
[01:28:07.130]you're letting people pull you to their level,
[01:28:10.976]rather than you pulling them to your level.
[01:28:14.340]So that's one of the simplest ways.
[01:28:18.500]I can't explain it just in this conversation,
[01:28:20.770]but that's a whole new way of thinking.
[01:28:24.820]That's opposite of what we were raised.
[01:28:27.150]Well, I was raised in.
[01:28:28.310]But the majority of people were raised then.
[01:28:32.150]And even with me, even though I was raised in it,
[01:28:35.850]I'm human, we got these instincts.
[01:28:38.500]I'm gonna protect myself.
[01:28:42.630]But I have within me a strong enough foundation
[01:28:46.860]and seeds that have sprouted forth in my mind,
[01:28:51.580]in my thinking that I'm able to catch myself
[01:28:56.080]or I can return and do what I need
[01:28:58.830]to repair something in conversation.
[01:29:02.863]But you use it in your environments, your work environments,
[01:29:06.000]in your school environment.
[01:29:07.640]When you're trying to work stuff out
[01:29:09.730]with the administration, there are foundational principles
[01:29:15.160]and there are steps to nonviolence that you follow.
[01:29:18.260]Everything shouldn't be about, this is wrong, I'm enraged,
[01:29:22.050]and I just let my emotions take over.
[01:29:23.990]No, nonviolence disciplines the emotion,
[01:29:27.270]channels the frustration, the anger, the disappointment
[01:29:32.620]into something constructive, looking at the ultimate goal.
[01:29:37.460]Always be driven, that this is what nonviolence is about.
[01:29:41.410]Nonviolence has an ultimate goal, and it's not to destroy.
[01:29:46.240]Nonviolence is about creation and preservation.
[01:29:50.520]So it's what I'm doing, going to either preserve or create.
[01:29:55.340]Is it going to lead to the relationship
[01:29:57.550]that I have with this person and the end being preserved?
[01:30:01.460]Is it going to lead to an opportunity
[01:30:02.820]to create a new relationship?
[01:30:03.810]Now, we not speaking about nonviolence
[01:30:05.968]in domestic violence.
[01:30:11.980]We're not saying, stay and then get your head whooped.
[01:30:14.040]That's not what we're talking about.
[01:30:15.000]So I wanna cancel that from people's thinking.
[01:30:18.400]Because they are situations
[01:30:19.650]where you have to remove yourself.
[01:30:21.850]So I'm thinking about those intense engagements.
[01:30:26.580]And I've had to use it with my own cousin.
[01:30:28.980]We had a lot of tension because of her support for Trump.
[01:30:32.990]And you were thinking, the King family,
[01:30:34.930]that wouldn't be the case, but it was.
[01:30:36.750]And she really taught me a lot about unconditional love
[01:30:40.520]and how to engage people and not try to attack her
[01:30:44.310]and put her down.
[01:30:46.660]And we have a wonderful relationship to this day.
[01:30:52.410]Well, I will say this.
[01:30:54.230]This has been the absolute pleasure of my,
[01:30:56.640]I wanna say, a decade, but perhaps my life
[01:31:00.121]to speak with you.
[01:31:01.320]I don't think there are words that could,
[01:31:03.220]probably accurately say how enthusiastic we were to have you
[01:31:06.300]at our university, for me to speak with you directly.
[01:31:10.050]But I thank you so much
[01:31:11.070]on behalf of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[01:31:12.990]I thank you on behalf of our MLK Week Committee,
[01:31:16.150]I thank you on behalf
[01:31:17.250]of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,
[01:31:19.290]and, of course, all of these students,
[01:31:21.600]faculty and staff here at our university.
[01:31:23.840]I know that we have so many watching us
[01:31:25.720]and that we're enthusiastic.
[01:31:27.530]You should know that when we announced you as our speaker
[01:31:29.890]that we received so, so much attention,
[01:31:32.290]but also so many people that were interested
[01:31:34.690]in hearing your words.
[01:31:36.010]So I thank you so much, Dr. King.
[01:31:38.410]On behalf of our university, thank you.
[01:31:40.520]And of course, we will take your words,
[01:31:43.170]not only to our hearts, but we will take them
[01:31:45.090]as we move forward on our own university's journey
[01:31:48.090]towards anti-racism and equity,
[01:31:50.440]but also in our own individual and collective work.
[01:31:53.600]So thank you again.
[01:31:57.280]On behalf of the Mexican American Student Association,
[01:32:00.060]we hope your participation in the program
[01:32:01.880]have proved educational, inspiring,
[01:32:04.340]and that these experiences serve as a platform
[01:32:07.360]for engagement and work towards equity, social justice,
[01:32:10.750]and inclusive excellence.
[01:32:12.820]Representing MASA, a student organization,
[01:32:15.110]working to provide a home away from home for Latinos
[01:32:17.950]who are making the transition to life as a college student,
[01:32:21.450]we serve our campus and community,
[01:32:23.320]we stand as continued advocates
[01:32:25.530]and supporters of inclusive excellence,
[01:32:27.600]proud to meet and support the vast needs
[01:32:29.810]of our campus community.
[01:32:31.670]I would now like to introduce the final performance
[01:32:33.860]of our program today.
[01:32:35.610]Mr. Ron Himes, Producing Director
[01:32:37.540]of the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater,
[01:32:39.610]will perform a monologue from James Baldwin's
[01:32:42.907]"Blues for Mister Charlie."
[01:32:44.800]This play is loosely based on the murder of Emmett Till.
[01:32:48.370]Baldwin dedicated the play to the memory of Medgar Evers,
[01:32:51.440]his widow and children,
[01:32:52.770]and to the memory of the dead children in Birmingham.
[01:33:14.127]My heart is heavier tonight than it has been before.
[01:33:20.290]I raise my voice to you tonight out of a sorrow
[01:33:23.930]and a wonder I have never felt before.
[01:33:28.140]Not only I, my Lord, am in this case.
[01:33:33.060]But everyone under the sound of my voice,
[01:33:36.400]and many more than that,
[01:33:39.930]feel as I feel, and tremble as I tremble,
[01:33:43.980]and bleed as I bleed.
[01:33:47.070]It is not that the days are dark;
[01:33:49.920]we have known dark days.
[01:33:52.950]It is not only that our blood
[01:33:55.340]runs down and no man helps us;
[01:33:59.960]it is not only that our children
[01:34:02.170]are destroyed before our eyes.
[01:34:06.340]It is not only that our lives,
[01:34:09.290]from day to day and every hour of each day,
[01:34:13.340]are menaced by the people among whom you have sent us down.
[01:34:18.760]We are borne all these things, my Lord,
[01:34:22.940]and we have done what the prophets of old could not do,
[01:34:28.290]we have sung the Lord's song in a strange land.
[01:34:35.057]In a strange land.
[01:34:37.410]What was the sin committed by our forefathers
[01:34:41.280]in the time that has vanished
[01:34:43.510]on the other side of the flood,
[01:34:45.720]which has had to be expiated by chains, by the lash,
[01:34:50.030]by hunger and thirst, by slaughter, by fire,
[01:34:54.070]by the rope, by the knife, for so many generations,
[01:34:58.860]on these wild shores, in this strange land?
[01:35:05.690]Our offense must have been mighty,
[01:35:09.100]our crime immeasurable.
[01:35:13.540]But it is not the past which makes our hearts so heavy.
[01:35:17.660]It is the present.
[01:35:20.040]Lord, where is our hope?
[01:35:24.370]Who, or what, shall touch the hearts of this headlong
[01:35:28.770]and unthinking people and turn them back from destruction?
[01:35:34.950]When will they hear the words of John?
[01:35:40.380]Now, when the children come, my Lord,
[01:35:43.720]and ask which road to follow, my tongue stammers
[01:35:48.190]and my heart fails.
[01:35:51.550]I will not abandon this land;
[01:35:54.920]this strange land, which is my home.
[01:35:59.750]But can I ask the children forever
[01:36:02.630]to sustain the cruelty inflicted on them
[01:36:06.050]by those who have been their masters,
[01:36:09.460]and who are now, in very truth, their kinfolk,
[01:36:14.090]their brothers and their sisters and their parents?
[01:36:19.240]What hope is there for a people who deny their deeds
[01:36:23.530]and disown their own kinsmen
[01:36:25.900]and who do so in the name of purity and love
[01:36:30.840]in the name of Jesus Christ?
[01:36:34.410]What a light, my Lord,
[01:36:37.210]is needed to conquer so mighty a darkness!
[01:36:42.600]The darkness rules in on us, and grows,
[01:36:46.080]in black and white alike.
[01:36:49.070]I have set my face against the darkness,
[01:36:52.400]I will not let it conquer me, even though I know it will,
[01:36:56.540]one day, destroy this old body of mine.
[01:37:00.910]But, my Lord, what of the children?
[01:37:06.300]What shall I tell the children?
[01:37:10.260]I must be with you, Lord, like Jacob,
[01:37:13.240]and wrestle with you until the light appears,
[01:37:16.460]I will not let you go until you give me a sign!
[01:37:21.870]A sign that in the terrible Sahara of our time
[01:37:26.790]of fountain may spring, the fountain of true morality,
[01:37:32.040]and bring us closer, oh, my Lord,
[01:37:35.570]to that peace on earth desired by so few
[01:37:39.380]throughout so many ages.
[01:37:43.290]Let not our suffering endure forever.
[01:37:47.960]Teach us to trust the great gift of life
[01:37:51.430]and learn to love one another
[01:37:55.240]and dare to walk the earth like men.
[01:38:09.570]Thank you for attending
[01:38:10.700]our 2021 MLK Commemorative Celebration.
[01:38:14.330]We are honored to have engaged in a conversation
[01:38:16.840]with Dr. Bernice A. King, who challenges us
[01:38:20.320]to invest our time, efforts, and passion
[01:38:23.630]towards a world of justice and equity,
[01:38:25.830]reflective of the words spoken
[01:38:27.300]by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
[01:38:30.260]Before we depart, we would like to thank those
[01:38:33.050]who made our event a reality,
[01:38:35.000]supporters and sponsors who all assisted
[01:38:37.680]in creating this opportunity for our campus and community.
[01:38:41.690]First, we'd like to thank our MLK Week Committee,
[01:38:45.750]comprised of members from several organizations
[01:38:48.810]and campus units.
[01:38:50.580]This committee worked diligently to create an event
[01:38:53.600]reflective of the challenges and opportunities we face,
[01:38:56.760]locally and across our nation.
[01:38:58.940]We also think our program participants,
[01:39:01.640]Dr. Dawne Curry, Roni Miller, Aaya Norr,
[01:39:05.490]Dean Sherri Jones, Nathan Meier, Dr. Richard Bischoff,
[01:39:09.370]and Dalilah Valdez.
[01:39:11.490]We thank Chancellor Green for his leadership
[01:39:15.520]and continued support of these efforts.
[01:39:18.170]We extend our gratitude
[01:39:19.340]to our amazing production and graphics team
[01:39:22.240]provided our prerecorded and live footage
[01:39:25.540]that brought this event to our campus and community.
[01:39:29.230]A special thank you to Ron Himes,
[01:39:31.240]Producing Director of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company.
[01:39:35.360]Mr. Himes worked diligently with Christina Kirk,
[01:39:38.670]Director of the Carson School of Theatre and Film
[01:39:41.230]and Executive Director of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre,
[01:39:44.300]to bring forth engaging performances
[01:39:46.760]that proved educational and inspirational to our audiences.
[01:39:50.900]In the same spirit, we wanna thank our performers,
[01:39:53.820]courtesy of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company
[01:39:56.820]and our UNL student performers,
[01:39:59.330]Brannon Evans and Nadia Williams
[01:40:01.690]of the Carson School of Theatre and Film,
[01:40:03.940]who left us mesmerized and reflective.
[01:40:07.110]Finally, we would like to thank our sponsors.
[01:40:09.810]This event was supported by several campus partners
[01:40:12.440]that include the Office of Economic Research and Development
[01:40:16.210]and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources,
[01:40:19.390]the Colleges of Law, Engineering, Education,
[01:40:22.670]and Human Sciences, the university libraries,
[01:40:26.060]business and finance, and our drum major and unity sponsors.
[01:40:30.990]For a listing of additional activities for the week
[01:40:34.200]and to receive information on future partnership
[01:40:36.870]and collaboration of our 2022 MLK Commemorative Celebration,
[01:40:41.650]please visit our website at mlkweek.unl.edu.
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