On Monday, January 15th, the Transylvania Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a brunch and discussion celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. The brunch was catered by Great Bagel, and the discussion was spearheaded by Diversity and Inclusion Liaison Dr. Krissalyn Love and SGA President Ysa Leon.
The discussion centered around questions such as: Have MLK Jr.’s goals been accomplished? Would MLK Jr. be proud of us now? What aspects of MLK Jr.’s words resonate with us the most? For each question, people were encouraged to rotate around the Pioneer rooms and talk with people they may not have spoken with before. As a participant in the discussion, I found it interesting to talk about my thoughts with different people and learn their opinions as well. While the suggestion to move around the room was not heeded by all students, the vast majority were getting out of their comfort zones and sharing their honest thoughts about the questions asked.
Another interesting facet of the event was the discussion of the story of Bayard Rustin. Dr. Love divulged the history of Rustin, who was MLK Jr.’s right-hand man and the principle organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. However, Rustin often had to stay away from the public eye and distance himself from Dr. King because he was gay. Dr. Love made the point that MLK Jr. had his own prejudices despite all the good he had done and that it is up to us to continue the fight for equality and marginalized groups.
The event was initially planned to end with Transy students walking to downtown Lexington to join the annual MLK JR. Day march, which has been a tradition in Lexington for several decades. Unfortunately, most in attendance were unable to make it downtown afterward due to inclement weather and road conditions. Despite this roadblock, the event was a major success. It brought people together and educated them that the fight for equality is still ongoing and that the students of Transylvania can continue to push for what is right.