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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update — Honoring Dr. King

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This is part of a series of regular updates that Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier sends to the campus community.

Dear St. Olaf Community,

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action. — Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1983, after years of activists’ campaigns, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to celebrate the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. However, it wasn’t until 1986 that the first MLK Day was celebrated. Dr. King’s work and legacy is centered around love, courage, hope, and the search and fight for justice. He spoke about a dream, but it wasn’t one that could be carried just on the back of good intentions. His dream and legacy are only carried forward by our active disruptions and dismantling of injustices, by our activism rather than passive allyship, and by doing it all year round and in all facets of our lives.

This year, the St. Olaf MLK Day Committee, led by Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion Director Martin Olague, prepared multiple opportunities for our community to engage in and reflect on the work of Dr. King. To access the virtual events and other details, go here. The MLK Day Committee includes students, staff, and faculty who volunteer their time each fall to plan and implement activities for this very special day.

Engaging in service is another way to celebrate MLK Day. Many communities, especially during these trying times, are facing food and housing insecurities. Below are opportunities to either do ongoing volunteering or one-time donations. If you are not local to Minnesota, I encourage you to search for your own community organizations and get to know and support them. **Please only volunteer in-person if it is safe to do so while maintaining our community guidelines.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium
Save the Date: May 6-7, 2022: Join us for our inaugural St. Olaf Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium, where we will recognize and share the excellence, challenges, and work ahead in higher education and beyond.

Call for Proposals: The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office and the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion invite students, staff, faculty, and alumni to submit proposals for presentations, posters, or roundtables for our inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium: Recognizing Excellence, Challenges, and the Work Ahead. We seek proposals that address ongoing and emerging areas of social justice, representation, equity, access, inclusion, and psychological safety pertaining to communities in higher education and society at large. For more information and to submit proposals, go here.

Opportunities for Development on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism
As part of our membership in the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA), we have started to get access to the monthly convening/training recordings. See below the recording for one of the latest workshops.

Implementing Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education is a virtual workshop that focuses on how to implement UDL across campus to increase persistence, retention, and satisfaction for all learners.


Dr. María C. Pabón Gautier
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion