A Message for Martin Luther King Jr. Day


On Monday, Pacific University joins the nation in marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Each year, people across the country and around the world celebrate the birthday of this great leader.

What advice and words of wisdom would Dr. King give us in these times? What would he motivate us to do on this holiday — and every day? Surely, he would expect us to use this time to improve the lives of others.

At Pacific University, we continue to make efforts to be more inclusive of all students, staff and faculty and to continue the journey to bring equity and inclusion to all aspects of the university. We strive to assure that the work of Martin Luther King Jr. lives on every day in our own work. And we reflect upon our mission statement and its meaning in the context of the world in which we live:

A diverse and sustainable community dedicated to discovery and excellence in teaching, scholarship and practice, Pacific University inspires students to think, care, create, and pursue justice in our world.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a university holiday, and university offices will be closed on Monday. However, MLK Day also is a designated day of service — “a day on, not a day off.” I hope you will take this opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the day and find ways to engage with your community on Monday in honor of Dr. King’s legacy.

The following are a few of many opportunities to do so, both on Monday and in the coming weeks.

  • The Center for Peace and Spirituality will pay the registration donation for any Pacific student who wants to attend a Bystander Intervention Workshop from 2 to 5 p.m. Jan. 20 in Portland.
  • February’s Open Mic Night features Ebo Barton, a Black and Filipino genderqueer slam poet, whose work speaks to current social justice issues. Open Mic Night is at 8 p.m. Feb. 2 in the University Center.
  • The Black Student Union hosts a film and panel discussion on Black history at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the University Center, as well as other events, including a career panel with alumni of color.
  • March 10 features a community screening of Dolores, a film about civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, a contemporary of Cesar Chavez and Dr. King, at 1:30 p.m. at the Forest Theater.
  • The United Way also hosts a weekend of service Friday through Monday with a list of general community service opportunities in the greater Portland area.

Later this month, several students will gather for the Pacific’s Social Justice Retreat, which also includes a reception with alumni working toward social justice. These events are a true reflection of Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, and I am grateful for the team of faculty and staff leading the events: Katelyn Eisenhooth (International Programs), Pete Erschen (Student Activities & Multicultural Interest), Bevin McCarthy and Stephanie Stokamer (Center for Civic Engagement), Martha Calus-McLain (Alumni & Community Engagement), Kathleen Converse (Campus Wellness), Karolyn Ismay (Student Life), Daniel Eisen (Sociology/Anthropology), Michelle Larkins (Center for a Sustainable Society), and Narce Rodriguez (Equity, Diversity & Inclusion).

I have long believed in the power and impact of local heroes, and I count these team members as wonderful examples of just that. Together, let us renew our commitment to Pacific’s mission of inspiring students to think, care, create, and pursue justice in the world by taking small steps to engage with the communities that surround us every time we have an opportunity to make a difference.

Warmest Regards,

Lesley M. Hallick

Jan. 12, 2018