Re: Furthering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy
To: All campus
Jan. 13, 2023
Dear campus community,
On Monday we honor and celebrate the enduring legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday, one in which civic engagement and voluntarism are encouraged. The City of Merced and UC Merced had a wonderful program planned with a march through downtown, a keynote speech by our own Dr. Maria Martin, and some meaningful community volunteer opportunities. Sadly, the severe weather events we are currently experiencing forced us to postpone these proceedings until safer conditions prevail. We will update the campus community when the events are rescheduled.
While we may not be able to celebrate Dr. King’s work and words in person together Monday, I invite you to contemplate the intention of this day and consider ways in which you can be a force for good in your community, especially in the aftermath of the current natural disaster that has wrought destruction throughout the state.
Dr. King was a passionate activist in the fight against poverty and economic injustice. As King stated in his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.” Shortly before he died, he established the Poor People’s Campaign, seeing economic injustice as a final frontier in the fight for equality. While the campaign continued after his untimely death, we can attest much remains to be done to see his vision come to fruition.
Through the UC’s mission of teaching, research and public service, we hope to address many of the societal ills Dr. King sought to alleviate, and through our existence in the San Joaquin Valley, we hope to serve as a testament to his audacious belief that all people have access to education and culture and that all enjoy dignity, equality and freedom. We hope our strategic goals for this campus will further bring that vision to pass.
This Martin Luther King Day, I encourage all of us in the Bobcat community to consider how we can use our time, talents and knowledge to further Dr. King’s work both here in the Valley and beyond in the global community.
Juan Sánchez Muñoz, Ph.D.