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HR Diversity Committee E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

IDEA Committee Newsletter_ MLK DAY EDITION

Monday, January 18 marks the 35th anniversary of the federal holiday in honor of Rev. Martin Luther King’s birthday. Signed into law in 1983 and first observed in 1986, the holiday is a deserving tribute to King for advancing civil rights and social justice through non-violent protest. This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is a special one and not just because it’s the first in which the University has closed in recognition!

The events of this past year brought systemic racial discrimination to the forefront in a way that left these issues impossible to ignore and created opportunities for overdue discussions often brought up through the civil rights and social justice work of Dr. King. ¬†Additionally, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is a unique one in our country’s calendar as it is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service.

Between tornadoes, a global pandemic, and the Christmas Day bombing, our community is in a place of need like a few times before. The IDEA Committee is excited to pass along different ways for you and your loved ones to use Monday, January 18th to reflect on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how you can then take the next step of honoring his legacy with community service.

  • For a short biography of Dr. King and why this year’s holiday is so special, read The Meaning of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Holiday in 2021 by Douglas Haynes.
  • Tune into local channel my30 on 1/18/21 at 11a for their program “Moving The Movement: Honoring Our Past, Present, and Future”. More information can be found here.
  • Log in for “Making ‘Good Trouble’ in 2021: Time for Academic Medicine to Boldly Call for Racial Justice” hosted by VUSM and VUSN. Register here for the event on 1/18/21 from noon – 1p
  • Attend the University’s virtual candlelight vigil and MLK Commemorative Event “At Home in the World: Place, Identity and the American Dream” with Dinaw Mengestu. Register here for the event on 1/18/21 from 5:15p – 6:30p

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

  • To honor Dr. King’s impact on not just his own community but also our wider national community, find an organization and/or cause that you feel passionate about and volunteer.¬† Remember this is “a day on, not a day off” you can find volunteer opportunities through AmeriCorps or VolunteerMatch.Org and then share your experience to encourage others to serve in memory of Dr. King.

Whatever you do, we hope this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday affords you time to reflect on the work that still needs to be done for racial equality and what you can do in the coming year to make our community better.

We would love to share your past or present MLK Day experience with the IDEA community. Submit your pictures, stories, memories, or thoughts to yasmine.mukahal@vanderbilt.edu so that we can feature them in our next newsletter!


The IDEA Committee


Martin Luther King Jr.’s Most Memorable Speeches




We want to hear from you

As always, we would love to hear from you!

If you have a story, picture, or video that you wish to share with the IDEA community, email yasmine.mukahal@vanderbilt.edu so that we can include it in our upcoming newsletter.

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