A note from the director
I write this note on the day of service celebrating the remarkable life of Martin Luther King, amongst the backdrop of a nation processing the violent siege of our nation’s capitol on January 6th. The siege on the capitol was shocking to watch unfold. It is not surprising that people turned to violence after months of violent rhetoric aimed at sowing distrust. Yet, in the same moment, a record voter turnout
-- a higher percentage of Americans voted in 2020 than in any election in the last century -- illustrates increasing engagement in the democratic process. What responsibility do we, as higher educators, have to help students make sense of a society increasingly fractured by ideology? How do we help our learning communities bring a critical lens to ideas and information? How do we help ourselves and our colleagues continue to prioritize dismantling systemic oppression in our institutions when the temptation to move on is so powerful?
The shape of our work moving forward will be informed by the specific needs of our institutions and the people that inhabit them. Personally, I feel a renewed urgency in the Washington Center’s mission to support student academic success through equitable learning opportunities for all students.
Today, as I process feelings of despair and anger, I find solace in reflecting on the Beloved Community as articulated in Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence
. In particular, King’s six principles of nonviolence
have helped me renew my commitment to choose love instead of hate.
- PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people
- PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
- PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people
- PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform
- PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate
- PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.
I continue to be deeply grateful to be part of a community of higher educators committed to student success. I very much look forward to convening with many of you on January 26th for the next Collaborative Conversation
. Tara Hardy will lead us in an exploration of the ways in which we can embrace trauma-impacted people as assets in our learning communities - a conversation that promises to offer approaches for centering humanity in our classrooms.
I hope you will lock arms with us (virtually) in our collective work to realize the promise of education as a bedrock of a just democratic society.