President Bob Iuliano and Carlos Tasso Eira Aquino, Interim Chief Diversity Officer, reflect on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and encourage students to get involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives on campus.
January 17, 2022
Dear Members of the Gettysburg College Community,
Last week, the College hosted an inspiring group of student fellows from across North America for the inaugural Peace and Justice Transformative Leadership Program. These rising changemakers engaged in campus workshops—hosted by Gettysburg faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as distinguished guest speakers—on effective facilitation and transformative leadership, grant writing for social impact, developing and mobilizing a resilient entrepreneurial mindset, policymaking for social change, and lessons gleaned from the Civil War for today’s polarized times. It was an invigorating and empowering week of programming, emerging from the vision of Prof. Hakim Mohandas Amani Williams. Please join us in congratulating Professor Williams and the many other members of our community who supported the program’s successful launch.
The Peace and Justice Transformative Leadership Program came on the heels of the passing of Desmond Tutu, a powerful force for nonviolence in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement and the recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we would encourage all Gettysburgians to internalize a central theme resounded in the message of both Dr. King and Archbishop Tutu: every one of us can contribute to building a better, more just world.
In speaking to this fundamental truth, Archbishop Tutu observed: “Too frequently we think we have to do spectacular things. Yet, if we remember that the sea is actually made up of drops of water and each drop counts, each one of us can do our little bit where we are. Those little bits can come together and almost overwhelm the world. Each one of us can be an oasis of peace.”
As we reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and the unfinished work of creating a just society for everyone, Archbishop Tutu’s words represent a clarion call. It is a call to which our visiting student fellows are responding. And it serves as a reminder that each of us has the capacity to bring about meaningful change in our families, our workplaces, and our communities.
Today, and in the semester ahead, let us together honor the legacies of Dr. King and Archbishop Tutu by advancing the essential work for which they so valiantly dedicated their lives.
- Updates on DEI Commitments for 2021-22 – Earlier this month, we shared a midyear updatewith the community on our diversity, equity, and inclusion progress for the academic year. Please take a moment to review the letter, to get actively involved in ongoing initiatives, and more generally to consider how you can best apply your voice and talents to support our collective DEI efforts.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration – Each January, Gettysburg College partners with South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP), HACC Gettysburg Campus, YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County, and the United Way of Adams County to sponsor an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Due to current conditions, this year’s ceremony has been rescheduled. More information will be forthcoming about the event, which is now likely to align with Black History Month.
- DEI Events in the Spring – The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be updating its website regularly with DEI events for the spring semester, beginning on January 24, 2022, with a wide variety of Black History Month engagement opportunities.
Carlos Tasso Eira Aquino
Interim Chief Diversity Officer