Statement from Chancellor Milliken on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance

January 15, 2016 | The University

To the CUNY Community,

The City University of New York is built on many principles, but none is more important than our dedication, for more than 160 years, to opportunity, social justice and inclusion. While some universities have mottos, at CUNY we have causes, providing New Yorkers, particularly those underrepresented in our society, the education and skills they need for achieving their dreams and building better communities.

The national holiday recognizing that great American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is particularly meaningful to us at CUNY because he articulated so brilliantly, and advanced at such cost, the values to which we, too, are committed. His struggle reminds us that constructing a just society is hard work, and that the battle against discrimination must continue so that all of us have the opportunity to set our ambitions high, and reach them.

At the heart of Dr. King’s message was a belief that the battle to overcome division benefited not just those excluded from the benefits of a free society but our entire country, which was denied the creativity and energy of those left out. CUNY was built on that principle and we – and our city and state – have thrived because of our embrace of underrepresented New Yorkers, including immigrants from all over the world, who bring optimism and fresh thinking to our classrooms.

As we recall the life and work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, I hope we can reflect on and rededicate ourselves to his vision of justice and inclusion.

James B. Milliken