The Beloved Community...
As we celebrate the great and heroic work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, let us all take time to reflect on his call to action. His selfless acts and a continued drive for equality, equity, and justice should serve as an inspiration to keep his legacy alive. In 2019, I visited the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham. Last January, I stopped at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., and recently, as I shared at the last Staff Q & A, my family saw the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta and we visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Park. These landmarks are physical reminders of how much further we need to go as a country in the work of justice, inclusion, and equity.
First coined by philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, “The Beloved Community” was popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King’s philosophy was one where racism, bigotry and prejudices would be replaced “by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood” and that “poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it.” Please see below for an excerpt of The Beloved Community” that is on the wall at the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Park.
“The Beloved Community is a realistic vision of an achievable society, one in which problems and conflicts exist, but are resolved peacefully and without bitterness. In the Beloved Community, caring and comparison drive political policies that support the worldwide elimination of poverty and hunger and all forms of bigotry and violence. The Beloved Community is a state of heart and mind, a spirit of hope and good will that transcends all boundaries and barriers and embraces all creation. At it’s core, the Beloved Community is an engine of reconciliation. This way of living seems a long way from the kind of world we have now but I do believe that it is a goal that can be accomplished through courage and determination, and through education and training, if enough people are willing to make the necessary commitment.”
Please take a minute to reflect on the passage and put it into context in the space you are currently in. As I reflected after reading it on the wall I found myself wanting, needing, and committing to doing more. We live in a world that is complex and ever-changing, however, the one constant that can exist is peace. Let’s all commit to living in a world that is free of racism, bigotry, and one that is equitable and values the lived experiences of all.
This week, Katrice Quitter led two “Listening Sessions: Race & Racism” with our students and administrators. One common theme from the student's perspectives was that although Princeton is talking and trying to make progress, they want more. They want honest, straightforward talk about what happened last week at the Capitol building. They want to see actions of eliminating racism and bias. They want to see healing and people working together, and understanding even if sides disagree. Although we do not record sessions to allow students the comfort of being able to speak freely, I wish each staff member could hear how articulate, mindful, and intelligent our students are. Our staff should be proud because these conversations are proof of our mission of empowering each student is resulting in creative critical thinkers.