University community gathers to celebrate legacy of MLK Jr.


Photo courtesy of Jason Kull.

University community members sit inside of the Beckerman Recreation Center for the event, West Haven, Jan. 26, 2022.

On Jan. 26, university community members gathered in the Beckerman Recreation Center on Jan 26th to acknowledge the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

After opening words from dean of students and chief diversity officer Ophelie Rowe-Allen and president Steven Kaplan, senior Michael Desir sang the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and “If I Can Help Somebody.”

Following this, those who have shown exceptional commitment to the ideals of Dr. King through their work, making a difference both on and off campus, were recognized. These Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarships were awarded to junior Anta Fall and sophomore Katiushka Ruiz.

Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Award student recipients were sophomore Mary Lippa, senior Adrielys Gomez and graduate student Richard Concepcion.

The staff and faculty recipients were assistant director of the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion Zanaiya Léon and associate professor and director of the research of Tow Youth Justice Institute Danielle Cooper, respectively.

Yohuru Williams––who is a professor, author, activist and founding member of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota––gave a keynote presentation. Williams said he planned on giving more of a sermon rather than a speech. He spoke of the ways in which people can change the world around them and how one does not have to do big things to make a big impact.

“Dr. King’s values are our values,” said Williams. “The world changes according to the way people see it.
Williams also said, “If you can alter even by a millimeter the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”

He ended his keynote with a call to action by saying we are continuing the ripple of hope from those who pushed for change in the past saying, “Charger or Challenger? I can’t tell the difference.”