Today we commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a true American hero whose impassioned leadership in the struggles for racial equality, social and economic justice, inclusion and opportunity helped define the conscience of a nation. And while it is altogether fitting that we celebrate his extraordinary contributions, it is striking and most unfortunate that his teaching continues to be in some ways as urgent and essential as it was half a century ago.
We recognize the goals Dr. King passionately articulated and relentlessly pursued as bedrock American values. They represent values we cherish at The City University of New York, and we hope they guide our actions every day. CUNY is a nationally recognized engine of opportunity, social mobility, and inclusion, and has long provided the pathway for educational and economic success for immigrants, low income and underrepresented students on a grand scale. CUNY’s leadership in the fight for Dreamers is a critical and unfortunately necessary example of our ongoing work in furtherance of the values our community shares.
Nearly 50 years ago, in his commencement address to the graduates of The City College of New York, Dr. King spoke of the nation’s racial and economic gaps, but insisted that Americans were tied together in “a single garment of destiny.” That message resonates today as we pursue the unfinished work that Dr. King gave his life to lead, and challenges us to live up to the timeless values he set forth.