The 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee invites the University of New Haven community to enact the theme “This is Our Hope: Celebrating Achievement and Hope for the Future.” Nearly 60 years ago on August 28, 1963, Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, articulating “our hope,” while warning of "protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent." This is an invitation to consider our commitment to social justice and racial equity and our charge to recognize all forms of identity, including class, sexuality, age, religion, ability, and gender.
On our campus, we are celebrating this academic year, the 50th anniversary of the Black Student Union and the 15th anniversary of the PRIDE organization. At a national level, we also mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX, landmark federal civil rights legislation advocating for equal opportunities in education and athletics, as well as the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
As a community, we acknowledge the ongoing struggles for racial justice, and we recognize that the multiple facets of our identities are not separate, as they intersect, connect, and overlap. Together our identities represent our experiences of oppression, inequality, advantage, or privilege. The challenges we face should not weigh us down or dissuade us from re-imagining a better, more just, and more hope-filled future. As Dr. King reminded us: "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
Essay Contest Question (High School Students Invited to Participate)
The University of New Haven will partner with high schools in the West Haven and New Haven communities. Students will have the opportunity to write an essay related to the MLK theme. Winners will be invited to attend the MLK Celebration and Recognition Awards Ceremony.