28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration - Tavis Smiley, “From Dreams to Reality: The Illusion of Full Inclusion”
[MUSIC - "TOTAL PRAISE"]
(SINGING) Lord, I will lift mine eyes to the hills. Knowing thy help. Knowing thy help. Lord, it comes from you. It's coming from you. Your peace. Your peace you give me, Lord, in time of the storm. You are the source of my strength. Everyday you are the strength of my life. And I lift my hand. And I lift my hands in total praise to you.
Lord, you are the source of my strength. Every day you are, you are, yes, you are the strength of my life. And I lift my hands. I lift my hands. Yes, I do. In total praise to you. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
[MUSIC - "ORDER MY STEPS"]
(SINGING) Order my steps in your word, dear Lord. Lead me, guide me every day. Send your anointing, Father, I pray. Order my steps in your word. Please order my steps in your word.
Order my steps in your word, dear Lord. Lead me, guide me every day. Send your anointing, Father, I pray. Order my steps in your word. Please order my steps in your word.
Humbly I ask thee teach me and lead me. While you are working, help me be still. Though Satan is busy, God is real. Order my steps in your word. Please order my steps in your word.
Bridle my tongue. Make my words edify. Let the words of my mouth be acceptable in thy sight. Take charge of my heart both day and every night. Order my steps in your word. Please order my steps in your word.
I want to walk worthy. I want to walk worthy. According to your will. Please order my steps, Lord. And I'll do your blessed will. Yes, I will. The world is ever changing. The world is every changing, but you are still the same. Please order my steps, Lord. I want to praise your name.
I want to walk worthy. I want to walk worthy. According to your will. According to your will. Please order my steps, Lord. Please order my steps. And I'll do your blessed will. Yes, I will. The world is ever changing. The world is ever changing. But you are still the same.
Please order my steps, Lord. Please order my steps, Lord. And I'll praise your name.
Order my steps. Lead me. In your word. In your word. Order my steps. Teach me to speak. In your word. In your word. Guide my feet. Guide my feet in your word. In your word. Wash my heart. I need you to wash my heart in your word.
Show me how to walk. Show me how to walk in your word. Show me how to talk in your word. I want to learn how to talk with you. When I need a brand new song to sing, show me, show me, show me how to let your praises ring in your word. In your word. In your word.
Order my steps in your word. In your word. Please order my steps in word. I want to walk worthy. I want to walk worthy. According to your will. According to your blessed will.
Order my steps, Lord. Please order my steps. And I'll do your blessed will. Yes, I will. The world is ever changing. The world is ever changing, but you are still the same. You are still the same.
Order my steps, Lord. Order my steps, Lord. I want to praise your name. Order my steps. Lead me. In your word. In your word. Order my step. Teach me to speak in your word. Guide my feet in your word. Wash my heart. I need you to wash my heart in your word.
Show me how to walk in your word. Show me how to talk in your word. I want to learn how to talk with you. When I need a brand new song to sing, show me, show me, show me how let your praises ring in your word. In your word.
Please order my steps in your word. In your word. Please order my steps in your word. In your word. Please order my steps in your word. Order my steps in your word.
(SINGING) We've got joy. Joy in the morning start with the rising sun. We've got joy. Joy in the noonday till our work is done. Cause we got joy. Joy in the evening [INAUDIBLE] night and day. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus.
Oh, we've got joy. Joy in the morning starts with the rising sun. We've got joy. Joy in the noonday till our work is don. Oh, we've got joy. Joy in the evening [INAUDIBLE] night and day.
Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus.
Oh, got joy within this soul. Got joy the world can behold. Got joy in the midst of my problems, because I know my God can solve them. Then you can't stop us from running this race. Gotta keep on running, running, running.
Oh, we've got joy. Joy in the morning starts with the rising sun. We've got joy. Joy in the noonday till our work is done. You know, we've got joy. Joy in the evening [INAUDIBLE] night and day.
Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Come on.
Oh, got joy within my soul. Got joy the world can behold. Got joy in the midst of my sorrow, because I know my God can solve them. Saying you can't stop us from running this race. Gotta keep on running, running, running. Till we see God face to face.
We've got joy. Joy in the morning starts with the rising sun. Oh, we've got joy. Joy in the noonday till our work is done. Oh, we've got joy. Joy in the evening [INAUDIBLE] night and day. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus.
You know, we've got joy. Joy in the morning starts with the rising sun. You know, we've got joy. Joy in the noonday till our work is done. You know, we've got joy. Joy in the evening, [INAUDIBLE] night and day. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus.
You know, we've got joy. Joy in the morning with the rising sun. Oh, we've got joy. Joy in the noonday till our work is done. You know, we've got joy. Joy in the evening [INAUDIBLE] night and day. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus.
You know, we've got joy. Joy in the morning starts with the rising son. You know, we've got joy. Joy in the noonday till our work is done. You know, we've got joy. Joy in the evening [INAUDIBLE] both night and day.
Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. Lily of the valley. His name is Jesus. Bright morning star. His name is Jesus. In the morning. His name is Jesus. In the noonday. His name is Jesus. In the evening. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus.
Lily of the valley. His name is Jesus. Bright morning star. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus.
You know, we've got joy. Joy in the morning starts with the rising sun. You know, we've got joy. Joy in the noonday till our work is done. Oh, we've got joy. Joy in the evening [INAUDIBLE] both night and day.
Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. Who gives you this joy? His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. Amen.
GOMEZ: Thank you. Thank you. Good morning, everyone. My name is Maribel Gomez, and I am a senior pursuing a degree in chemical engineering. I will be your mistress of ceremonies during today's breakfast celebration. Please join me in thanking Mr. [? Darrell ?] [? Madsen ?] and the South Central Mass Choir once again for their wonderful work.
In the spirit of our celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King, we would like to ask you to greet or shake hands with someone near you. Look at the table around you, across from you, or behind you.
Welcome, everyone, to the 20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. I would like to take this moment to thank President Charles Vest and his wife, Mrs. Rebecca Vest, for hosting this event. I would also like to welcome Mr. Tavis Smiley, television correspondent, author, and political commentator. It is a pleasure to have you here this morning.
Furthermore, I would like to thank all the members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee to whom we owe this wonderful morning. When I call your names, please stand up. Professor Jerome Friedman.
Professor Richard Milner.
Reverend John Wuestneck.
Assistant Professor Catherine Drennen.
Assistant Professor Larry Anderson.
Associate Dean Arnold Henderson, Jr.
Assistant Director Deborah Liverman.
Director Ronald Critchlow.
Associate Director Robert Sayles.
Co-director Paul Parravano.
Special Assistant to the President, Dr. Clarence G. Williams, ex officio.
Chancellor L. Philip Clay, ex officio.
And Co-chairs Dean Leo Osgood, Jr.
And Professor Michael Feld.
Thank you all for contributing to the success of this event. Where's the Cambridge? Do we have a choir? We will now have the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School choir led by Mr. Donald Patterson, musical director, lead us in singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson. We ask that you join in and sing the first verse. Please stand and join hands as the song is sung.
[MUSIC - "LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING"]
(SINGING) Lift up your voice and sing. Till earth and heaven ring. Ring with the harmonies of liberty. Let our rejoicing rise high as the list'ning skies. Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us. Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us. Facing the rising sun of the new day begun. Let us march till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chast'ning rod, felt in the day that hope unborn had died. Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet, come to the place on which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered. We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered. Out of the gloomy past, till now we stand at last where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
GOMEZ: Thank you Mr. Donald Patterson, musical director, and the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School choir for that outstanding rendition of "Lift Every Voice And Sing." And we have one more member of the MLK committee, Ms. Tobie Weiner.
We will now begin the program with the invocation from Reverend John Wuestneck. Following the invocation, breakfast will begin. After breakfast, we will have two students, Georgette Charles, class of 2003, and Eric Caulfield, a graduate student, guide us in reflections on the life and legacy of Dr. King.
Dean Robert Redwine will present the 2001-2002 Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards. We will then have another musical selection from Mr. Donald Patterson and the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School choir. Then we will hear remarks from Dr. Charles M. Vest, and he will have the pleasure of introducing our keynote speaker, Mr. Tavis Smiley.
Following the keynote speaker, Provost Robert A. Brown will recognize our Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professors for the 2001 and 2002 academic year. Now let us begin our program with the invocation by Reverend John Wuestneck. Right after Reverend Wuestneck's invocation, we will begin breakfast.
WUESTNECK: Let us pray. Almighty God, bless to us our gathering on this special occasion of celebration. Lift us into dignity beyond background, color, temperament of mind, and beyond accustomed ways of seeing. Remind us of the privilege we have to gather, of the gifts we have to share all graciously given.
Bind us together to use our many and varied talents for the benefit of all. And bring us to the dedication that we can make a difference in endless poverty, in places of social disgrace, in the violence of our world, and in our own lives. And help us to find creative ways to benefit all human beings.
Bless to us, O God, the food which feeds our bodies. Lift up those who grew and raised the food and the people who prepared it. Lift those also who helped with the setting and presentation of this feast and those who will clean long after we are gone from this space. All these prayers we lift to you, O God, and also the silence and the yet emerging concerns from the very centers of our being. Amen.
GOMEZ: Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you have enjoyed your breakfast. We will now continue with the rest of the program. I have the pleasure of introducing two of our very own students Georgette M. Charles, a junior in biology, and Eric Caulfield, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science. They will guide us in a reflection of the life and legacy of Dr. King. We will hear first from Georgette M. Charles.
CHARLES: Distinguished faculty, guests, students, administrators, and our gracious hosts, President and Mrs. Vest, I come before you as a humble servant of God to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. When I was asked to give this speech, the first question that I had in my mind was, what do I want people to open their eyes, minds, and hearts to? In starting with this reflection, I went back to the principles of Dr. King, who always believed in knowing where you are coming from and where you are before even mentioning where you are going, so that is what I will do.
To tell you where I'm coming from, I will start by saying, I am an undergraduate here at MIT, a junior majoring in biology, minoring in environmental health and toxicology. Additionally, I'm the current Vice Chairperson of the MIT Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. But today, I stand before you as a representative of neither standing. They are mere undercurrents of who I am and who I consider myself to be.
Today, before you, I represent a leader, and no one has to verify that fact. I know that I am a leader because I know when to start my day and when to end it. I don't think that I can compare myself to Dr. King, but I will remark, he is a leader also-- not was, but is.
In the words of Coretta Scott King, "He remains a shining example of a discerning leader, one who shows good judgment and insight." There are many leaders around me, but how many are as astute as Dr. King? Sure, some can gather followers, but how tactful are the causes for which they lead? And what cause should they be leading?
The question that I pose before you today is, to what or for what should we lead? To answer this question, I started digging back, back to the life of Dr. King, for these answers. I'm not quite sure if he gave me a clear cut solution, but he started opening up my mind to some possible ones. Allow me to share.
Let us talk about purpose and cause. Many leaders are born with the rightful talent to lead. They may have great oratorical skills, a beautiful, loud voice, are persuasive in speech, but does that make them a good leader? No. What makes them a good leader is if they choose a valid and purposeful path for those that follow them, if they choose not to lead them astray.
The first quality of a good leader is one who will never take his eyes off the prize, to make life better for others. Another important quality is to be an exceptional learner, to open one's eyes, mind, and heart to the truth. Do not be blindsided by what is easy and fruitless.
But beyond being an exceptional learner and leader, Dr. King was a teacher. He made leaders. He took his God-given talent and stood at the pulpit and said, people, are you tired of bus segregation? Will you walk? Well, they were so tired of that bus that thousands of citizens of Montgomery, Alabama, both black and white, walked every day for more than six months.
But the truth remains that they became leaders when they followed Dr. King. They took their energy and strength, and got up, and started walking with their two feet, and said, we won't sit in the back anymore. If I was to tell you to remember anything today, I would say, do not be that leader that lets people sit in the back of the bus. They deserve the front, back, left side, right, whatever they desire.
This is the problem I see that we need to resolve. It is the problem with leadership that doesn't have the motivation to build more leaders, to build and sustain inclusion. What do I mean by inclusion? It is allowing equal opportunity for everyone to achieve success.
Many view the illusion of full inclusion is that glass ceiling that no one can seem to break. Well, I apologize if I offend you. Upon my reflection of Dr. King's life, I think it is quite naive to believe that one can break the glass ceiling by his or herself. Don't try to climb to the top alone. If you do, you will bump your head and fall right back down.
We-- and I mean we-- need to work first at teaching so that when we are psychologically prepared to climb to the highest peak together, we will break through any barriers. Remember, Dr. King taught that inequality cannot be taken over by force alone. We must first teach the notion of equality.
Then and only then, can we begin to talk about injustice and inequality. Then and only then, will the illusion of total inclusion transform into a clear and tangible objective. Thank you, and good morning.
GOMEZ: Thank you, Georgette. We will now hear from Eric Caulfield.
CAULFIELD: Good morning.
AUDIENCE: Good morning.
CAULFIELD: My name is Russell Eric Caulfield, and I'm a graduate student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a proud graduate of Morehouse College of which Dr.--
--of Which Dr. King was an alumnus. When I first got the email saying that I would get to speak at the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, I was thrilled, delighted, excited, elated, and amused, ecstatic, overjoyed, and completely enthused--
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
--at the opportunity to stand in front of such an awesome and diversely beautiful gathering of human beings. And now, as I stand here, it does my heart good to gaze out upon such a celestial cornucopia of colors.
A sublime symphony of hues, a magnificently marvelous mosaic of men and women of different backgrounds, races, and religions. For in looking at this group, one could be led to believe that the quest of the man whom we commemorate on this morning had indeed been completed. However, if one were to take time to ponder the preponderance of perplexing peculiarities persistently plaguing people, then one might come to the conclusion that what we are, in fact, seeing is indeed an illusion, more specifically, the illusion of full inclusion.
If visitors from another world were to drop by this breakfast and peek in, then they might think that we here at MIT are indeed the fulfillment of the dream. But were they to visit the lecture halls and office buildings on a normal Friday morning, what they would find is that there are less than 150 African Americans in a graduate school of nearly 6,000 students and that there are less than 130 Hispanics in that same graduate school.
More shockingly, what they would find is that of the 486 full tenured professors here at MIT, only seven of them are African American. And of the 486 full tenured professors here at MIT, only six of them are Hispanic. Granted, great strides have been made in terms of gender inclusion at the undergraduate level, though women make up less than 30% of the graduate school and less than 20% of the faculty. What we have to recognize is that issues of gender and racial inclusion are not mutually exclusive but, instead, are complementary. For it's only when we have men and women of different backgrounds working together can we hope to achieve a full range of new, insightful, and innovative perspectives.
But unfortunately, many of us who grew up in a microwave, TV dinner, give-it-to-me-now, I-want-it-yesterday type of society, expect that inclusion will ride in like a handsome knight on a horse and we sit back saying, inclusion, inclusion, wherefore art thou, inclusion?
But we have to recognize that we are wrestling against the momentum of history, constantly spiraling downward, plowing a path where, if unchecked, the greedy, and ruthless, and short-sighted tyrants of the world might actually have their way. Ultimately, what we have to recognize is that the B boy from Brooklyn, the chemist from Cambodia, the EE from Indonesia, the MD from Mexico, the botanist from Botswana, the mathematician from Morocco, the ecologist from England, the geologist from Germany, the poli sci from Poland, and the psychiatrist from Sri Lanka, the architect from Argentina all bring to the table something different and yet the same-- competence and diversity.
They say that great minds think alike, but I submit that truly exceptional minds think differently, for it is our charge as sojourners in this magnificent academic mega mecca to think differently and to grapple earnestly with full inclusion. Chasing truth never has been and never will be an easy task, but we can keep in mind the words of Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy who wrote, "We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams wandering by the lone sea breakers and sitting by desolate streams. The world-losers and the world-forsakers on whom the pale moon gleams. Yet we are the movers and shakers of the world forever it seems."
In remembering Dr. King, we should remember his work. We must embrace difference, press for equality, and break the rose-colored glasses of sameness that prevent us from seeing through the illusion of full inclusion. So on this day of remembrance, let us not only commemorate the man, but let us also remember his mission. Thank you.
GOMEZ: Thank you, Eric. That was a wonderful speech. Once again, I'd like to thank both Eric Caulfield and Georgette Charles for those wonderful remarks and for letting the words--
--and for letting the words of Dr. King be heard once more. I hope that everyone here today has really had a chance to listen carefully to their words. Now I have the honor of introducing Dean Robert P. Redwine, who will present the 2001 MLK Leadership Awards.
REDWINE: Good morning.
AUDIENCE: Good morning.
REDWINE: I really don't know why I always have to follow speeches like that.
But it is indeed an honor and a privilege to be able to present this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards to four remarkable and deserving individuals. As some of you know, this happy task would normally have been carried out by our Chancellor, Professor Philip Clay. Phil is not able to be with us today, and I think I may understand why now after he realized Eric would be preceding him on the program.
But I am certainly pleased to be able to serve in his absence. I will ask each of the recipients to come forward one at a time to receive his or her award. After I offer some words of congratulations, each recipient will then have the opportunity to make a few remarks as well. I'd like first to ask Dr. Randal Pinkett to come forward please.
Dr. Pinkett is an alumnus of MIT, having received the MBA, SM, and PhD degrees from the Institute. He is also a graduate of Rutgers University and a Rhodes Scholar. He is currently chief executive officer of Building Community with Technology, a consulting firm in Plainfield, New Jersey.
Randal, those who nominated you for this award cited your an extraordinary ability to inspire, encourage, and lead others as well the exceptional ways that you have made significant and lasting contributions to the advancement of low income people in urban neighborhoods. While completing your doctorate in the Media Lab, you and graduate colleague, Richard O'Bryant created a highly effective model for bridging the digital divide by implementing a computer network in Camfield Estates of Roxbury. This innovative undertaking quickly enhanced the neighborhood's capacity for community building and accessing vital technology and has drawn national recognition.
Your considerable accomplishments as a Rhodes Scholar, engineer, community leader, researcher, and entrepreneur embodies so much of what Dr. King desired for all in our society. Your willingness to share these talents with others is not only admirable but an exemplary way of continuing his dream. It gives me great pleasure to present to you this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award.
PINKETT: I want thank you for the wonderful presentation of the award and also giving honor to God who is at the head of my life. I also--
Yes. It's actually here in Boston that I reclaimed my faith at Morningstar Baptist Church after two years abroad. Coming back to the Lord and coming back to the family of God has been truly a blessing for me. And I continue to reap the benefits of having rejoined the Body of Christ.
I want to first give a shout out, so to speak, to Georgette and to Eric for the wonderful remarks they gave on the reflections of Dr. King.
I was, I was, I'm so proud and floored at both of your remarks. I want to just briefly reflect on our theme this morning, which is from dreams to reality. Many look at the way we talk about Dr. King as a dreamer and argue or sometimes want to suggest that by framing him in that way that Dr. King may have had his head in the clouds or was unrealistic in his expectations. Or you kind of begin to fantasize that he didn't really have a handle on the issues because we constantly make reference to the man-- he had a dream-- and the dream.
But I believe when you really cut to the core of what that means, that to really effect change in society, to really find ways to transform our day-to-day reality, you have to be, in some respects, a dreamer. You have to believe that in some way you are able to affect or create a new reality that you don't see physically or within your everyday experience.
I've heard people say faith is an acronym that stands Feeling As If Things Happened, actually believing that something has come to manifest itself. And when we look at children, for example, and the childlike qualities that young people have where they almost suspend reality and believe that they can do almost anything, I believe Dr. King retained something about that quality, that he believed somewhere within himself that he could do anything, that he could see a world that we see today or that we're working toward seeing today, as Eric mentioned. That was a new manifestation of inclusion.
And I think about the environment that he must have worked within. There had to have been people around him that said, Martin, you're crazy. Martin, to think that you're going to be able to make the kind of changes that you want to be able to make, you're not going to be able to do it. But somehow, in some way, he was able to move beyond that, to move beyond that and hold onto that childlike quality, again, that helps us to believe we can do anything.
And so I stand at this podium today realizing that I never would have imagined that I would have received a Rhodes Scholarship or three degrees from MIT or a Martin Luther King Award for Leadership at MIT. And I'm honored, and I'm blessed, and I'm humbled that MIT has chosen to recognize me for what I've done so far. And I hope that I'm able to continue to do good work moving forward.
And I just want to end by recognizing some of those that are here this morning that have come out to share in this honor. First, my mom, Elizabeth Pinkett, who came here up from New Jersey along with me. Mom. I want to thank her. My father is deceased. And I want to thank my mom for being the strength and the guiding force in my life and for really instilling the values in me and continuing to be a support there for me. And I love you, Mom. And I appreciate you for that.
I want to also recognize my advisor, Mitchel Resnick, who's here somewhere-- Mitchel, just raise your hand-- who's been very supportive in my doctoral work here at MIT.
And just a few others. Ceasar McDowell, who's here, a member of my thesis committee, Richard O'Bryant, who was mentioned in my bio, who helped me out with the product over in Roxbury, the family of people of color here at MIT, Chris Jones and Robin and Deans Osgood and Colbert, and Melissa McDaniels, Dean Charles, Dean Staton, Brian [INAUDIBLE], all those. And last but not least, I want to thank the residents of Camfield, where I've worked for the past three years. I'm working with them to look at ways technology can improve low income communities. Nakia Keizer, Paulette Ford, Thaddeus Miles, Wayne Williams, Donna Fisher, Garfield, Luis, and the whole board. Thank you very much. God bless all of you.
REDWINE: Thank you, Randal. Next, I would like to ask Sergeant Cheryl Vossmer to come forward please.
Sergeant Vossmer has been an MIT police officer for 17 years. She has been a longtime member of the President's Committee on Campus Race Relations and has demonstrated in many ways a commitment to better communication and understanding between MIT's various communities. Cheryl, those who nominated you cited your longstanding commitment to maintaining the values of Dr. King by enthusiastically serving the students, staff, and faculty of MIT and many residents of greater Cambridge. You consider the successful attainment of a good and livable community as part of your job and work hard to keep this ideal in the forefront of your mind.
Whether you are assisting a troubled student, participating in World AIDS Day activities, considering an issue before the Campus Committee on Race Relations, or collecting toys for disadvantaged children, you are known as a thoughtful and compassionate professional who takes her responsibilities very seriously. Your philosophy and actions embody Dr. King's forever challenging question, what are you doing for others? It gives me great pleasure to present to you this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award.
VOSSMER: Thank you. I'm a little bit shorter, so I have to roll with this a little bit. But I just want to say thank you so very much for this prestigious honor. It's difficult for me to be recognized for doing the things that I love to do.
I'm very humbled, and thank you. As you all know, I also have a difficult time standing behind a podium. I'd much rather be out walking around with all of you. But the Reverend Zina Jacque-- she's from Boston-- she told a story which had a wonderful effect on me. And I want to share just a bit with you.
Many of you will be very familiar with it. It was about a small, young boy named David and how he took one smooth rock to slay a giant named Goliath. David went on to become a king, a leader. Some of you may have picked up the rocks that you found on your table today. Carry it with you. Let it be a reminder that you can take on more than you think that you can handle. Because it only takes one smooth rock to slay a giant.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to travel to Ground Zero in New York City and volunteer with others from MIT. And I'd like to read a letter to you from a sixth grader from the Roger Park Middle School in Danbury, Connecticut. She writes, "Dear World Trade Center rescue workers, I feel you're doing a good job. I thank you for spending your time to help. I also want to thank you for sacrificing your health. You have made a difference in America. God bless America. Your friend, Kirsten."
I share this letter with you because, as this young lady points out, you have made a difference to all of America. You, too, can make a difference in the world. And as Dr. Martin Luther, Jr., said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?"
In our workaday lives, we are filled with the opportunities to bless others. The power of a single glance or an encouraging smile must never be underestimated. As Dr. Martin Luther King, again, he said, our most urgent question is, what are you doing for others. So in closing, let me say, whatever your ideas, whatever your goals or commitments are, your leadership must come from your heart.
My heart I give to you. I know how grateful I am. My attitude's of gratitude. And I'm grateful that so many people care to make a difference to overcome the evil acts of a few. Believe in yourself, and ask yourself, what are you doing for others? Thank you very much. You've all made a difference in my life.
REDWINE: Thank you, Cheryl. Next, I ask Professor Paul Gray to come forward please.
Professor Gray is, of course, very well-known to the MIT community, having served in a number of important roles, including as president of the Institute from 1980 to 1990. He, in fact, was one of those who started in MIT's annual MLK celebration in 1977. He is currently an active faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Paul, those who nominated you for this award cited your steadfast and enduring commitment as a faculty member and senior administrator to providing equal opportunities and higher education for people of color. As chair of the Task Force on Educational Opportunity first convened in September 1968, you took on an unprecedented role, developing institutional policies that led to the admission of 42 African American students by the next academic year.
Those who witnessed that era can now more fully appreciate how daunting it was for all men and women to lead equitably and responsibly during a time of great change. However, because of a far-reaching vision and ability to stand firmly by your principles, you frequently and effectively have advocated for greater inclusion. Through your sponsorship of the first national conference on issues facing black administrators at predominantly white colleges and universities held on this campus in 1982 and your appointment of Dean Shirley McBay to the Academic Council, you have demonstrated an unrelenting desire to foster a clearer understanding and awareness of racial issues in our community.
As a compassionate advisor and mentor, you have tirelessly guided students and professionals to greater levels of achievement. Your more than 40 years of service on behalf of others embodies the values and ideals of Dr. King. Your efforts have helped many who still want to sustain his dream. It gives me great pleasure to present to you this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award.
GRAY: Thank you. And my heartfelt thanks to the planning committee, to all who were involved in making this day possible. I came to MIT in the watershed year of the 20th century, 1950. And with a little time out for military service, I've been involved now at MIT in a variety of capacities for just 50 years. It is clear to me that MIT, at the opening of the 21st century, is a far richer, warmer, more humane place than it was 50 years ago. And it is so because of the presence in significant numbers of people of color, of Hispanic people, of women, of Native Americans.
MIT has changed. People in this room are a part of that change. And it has made a genuine difference.
Now Eric Caulfield is right. There is much that remains to be done. We have taken first steps on that road from the dream to reality. And there remain many steps still to be taken to achieve the outcome of which he spoke so eloquently.
I felt privileged and grateful to have had the opportunity in the late 1960s to work with people such as Shirley Jackson, Jim Turner, John Mims, Al Hill, to take those first steps toward making MIT a more inclusive place. In the years since then, I've had the opportunity to work with many others-- my friend Clarence Williams, Jerry Friedman, Leo Osgood, Mike Colbert, and many others.
It is the effort-- the steady, persistent effort-- of individuals who are committed to moving along the path from that dream to a new reality that have made and will continue to make at MIT a difference in the nature of this community, will continue to push this institution, this very special place, along the road to full participation in the entire community of this nation and of this world as it will be in the 21st century. Thank you all very much.
REDWINE: Thank you, Paul. Next, I ask Ms. Tamara Williams to come forward please.
Ms. Williams is a graduate student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is a 1998 graduate of Tennessee State University. At MIT, she has been a leader and several on-campus organizations. She has also volunteered for Tutoring Plus and has worked with Cambridge public school students in mathematics and English.
Tamara, those who nominated you for this award cited your range of enriching contributions to the MIT community. While undertaking doctoral studies at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory you have committed to serving as Co-chair of the Black Graduate Student Association and of Color Creations. Your creative leadership of these organizations has motivated and enabled other graduate students to attend the National Society of Black Engineers National Convention where they shared information about their disciplines and encouraged potential applicants to consider further studies in science and technology.
You have also reached out to fellow student organizations by coordinating monthly dinners and developing networking opportunities for individuals and groups concerned with issues that affect women of color. As a volunteer in Tutoring Plus, you assisted Cambridge's elementary, middle school, and high school students with their mathematics and language arts subjects. You have distinguished yourself as a contributor to the quality of life on this campus, and your efforts honorably represent what Dr. King expected of himself and of others.
Your recognition is a fitting tribute to his memory. It is with great pleasure that I present to you this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award.
WILLIAMS: Good morning, everyone.
AUDIENCE: Good morning.
WILLIAMS: First, I'd like to thank Marilyn Pierce and Peggy Carney of the Electrical Engineering Department for nominating me for this award. I'd also like to thank the leadership committee for deeming me worthy to receive such a great honor because I am indeed humbled, and I feel great.
I'd like to pose a question to you all. That question is, how do you measure your success? Do you measure it by how many degrees you have? How much money you make? How many cars you have? What type of house you live in?
Well, some time ago in my lifetime, I read a quote-- and I can't remember who actually said this statement. However, it has really helped me with my outlook on life.
And the quote is, "measure your success based on how many people you make successful." Can you imagine if the faculty, the staff, the students, the citizens, you citizens here today, if you had that outlook on life and when thinking about yourself, you actually took a step back and said, is a little time out of my day contributing? Saying hi to someone, giving someone a warm smile, or even helping someone with their schoolwork, or talking to someone about their problems-- how beneficial is that going to be to that person? But most importantly, even to yourself, it's very rewarding to give to others.
Because in the end, you're really helping yourself. And I just want everyone here to just leave with that thought. Measure your success based on how many people you makes successful. And I guarantee the world will be a very better place-- a better place. Thank you.
REDWINE: Thank you, Tamara. And I'd just like to congratulate all four winners again. Congratulations.
GOMEZ: Thank you very much. And again, congratulations to the recipients of all the awards. I'd like to take a moment to give you a little announcement about the MLK seminar installation. And I'll read a little bit of this brochure that was available at the front. "Since January 1999, students in the Martin Luther King Junior IAP Design Seminar have created installations in Lobby 10 to depict the struggles and accomplishments of African Americans and other people of color throughout history. This year's centerpiece demonstrates the theme of the MLK breakfast speaker, From Dreams to Reality-- The Illusion of Full Inclusion. From afar, you see a circle of mannequins. As you are invited to join in the circle by standing in the middle, you realize that none of the mannequins are looking toward you. Instead, they have their backs to you, and you are standing on the word minority."
Just a little preview, and I invite all of you to go to Lobby 10 and take a look at the installation. And now, we have another selection by the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School choir led by Mr. Donald Patterson.
[MUSIC - "I HAVE A DREAM"]
(SINGING) I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring. I have a dream today. We shall overcome. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. I have a dream today. We shall overcome.
Every valley shall be exalted. Every hill and mountain low. The rough places will be made plain and the crooked places straight. Every valley shall be exalted. Every hill and mountain low. The rough places will be made plain and crooked places straight.
And the glory of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.
And the glory of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.
I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring. I have a dream today we shall overcome. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. I have a dream today we shall overcome.
Every valley shall be exalted. Every hill and mountain low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places straight. Every valley shall be exalted. Ever hill and mountain low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked place straight.
And the glory of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. And the glory of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.
And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together. And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together. And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together.
And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together. And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together. And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together.
And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together. And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together. And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together.
And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together. I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream.
And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together. And all flesh, and all flesh, and all flesh shall see it together.
I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream.
GOMEZ: Thank you again to the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School choir. Now President Vest will give some remarks and proceed to introduce our keynote speaker, Mr. Tavis Smiley.
VEST: Thank you, Mirabel. And good morning, everybody.
AUDIENCE: Good morning.
VEST: Thank you all for coming out this morning to take part in this great annual MIT tradition. It's always a real highlight of Becky's and my year. But Eric, I have to tell you, when I got the email asking me to come here this morning, I knew, yet again, I would be absolutely humbled by people like Georgette and Eric, by their rhetorical skills, of course, but also by the clarity of their thought, the steadfastness of their heart, their focus on the cause.
I'm especially pleased that we are joined this morning by many friends and colleagues from the wider Cambridge community, our community. We are all citizens of this great city on the banks of the Charles River. Cambridge is our common ground. We work hard to make it a vital and sustaining community for all. And it is fitting that we come together to celebrate this morning.
And so I would like to extend special welcomes to City Councilor Denise Simmons.
State Representative Paul DeMarcus was with us through most of the morning but had to leave, so we thank him in absentia. Chairman Benjamin Barnes from the Cambridge Licensing Commission.
Melvina Monteiro, Executive Director of the Cambridge Police Review Advisory Board.
Thank you all very, very much for joining us this morning. One year ago at this gathering, I noted that 2001 was an iconic date, the year, as everybody at MIT knows, of Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey. Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick imagined that 2001 would be remembered as a year in which computers became nearly human and in which everyday passengers would board spacecraft and drift gracefully toward a colony on the moon.
In reality, this past year will be remembered as the time when everyday passengers boarded aircraft not five miles from where we sit this morning and pierced our proudest buildings, ending the lives of more than 3,000 innocent people going about their daily business. We discovered some elemental truths-- that evil is bred by ignorance, and poverty, and absolutism, that our own technology can be turned against us by the crudest actions of determined people. At the same time, the memory of that terrible reality will always conjure in our minds the sounds of people of every color, creed, and corner of our country singing America the Beautiful together.
It has been a dark time, and it has cried out for new understandings. A month after the attacks, The New York Times ran a story whose headline was "Attack Narrows Racial Divide." Listen to an excerpt from that story.
"Ever so slightly, the attacks on the Trade Center have tweaked the city's traditional racial divides. Some of it is how ordinary men and women react to each other on the streets, on subways, and bodegas. Some people attribute it to the solemnity that hangs over the city, others to fear. Still others to a new found unity as Americans. Whatever it is, the way that New Yorkers perceive one another across color lines, however accurate those perceptions were to begin with, has changed."
And in December, the Tampa, Florida Tribune reported on interviews with two dozen people about race relations, noting that, "maybe it's a veneer, as some say. Maybe there's something deeper. But after the attacks, some black Americans noticed that whites talked to them more. Others felt less vulnerable to racial profiling. Knowing that suspicion had found a new target, they struggled with their emotions."
It is undeniable that crisis and fear drew all Americans together as never before. In the face of adversity, we build bridges. My question this morning is, why can we not bridge divides in the face of opportunity? First, historians point out that this phenomenon of sudden unity and bridge building is observed frequently in wartime but that it should not be expected to last long. And indeed, just a couple of weeks after the New York Times article, The Boston Globe reported that many said the shared tragedy had quote, "briefly bridged Boston's racial divide." Briefly.
And listen again to the statement from the Tampa Tribune, that African Americans they interviewed felt some relief over improved relationships with whites but struggled with their emotions knowing that, "suspicion had found a new target." Therein lies a huge warning sign. Our nation, indeed, is at war with terrorism. And we must take unusual care to ensure the safety and security of our land and of all the people who dwell within it.
But we also must remain an open society. And we surely must maintain open universities. Without openness, there can be no inclusion. And openness means openness not only across American society, but also openness to serious and talented students and scholars who come to our shores from other countries to build a new America.
MIT is very proud of our Nobel Prize winners. Those laureates who currently are active in our midst were born in the United States, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Japan, and India. No more than that need be said to show why we must guard the grand tradition of welcoming those who come here from every corner of the world to learn and to advance our institutions and our country.
But even as we pursue the principle of international openness, we know full well that race remains a deeply troubling issue in America. We must be unwavering in our quest to eradicate this reality from our society. We must accelerate the movement of inclusion from illusion to reality.
So here are two particular challenges for all of us today-- not only to fight for gains in mutual respect and understanding, but to sustain them, to make sure that they are not brief, sentimental aberrations but permanent improvements of heart and habit, and to understand that if all we achieve is to broaden the definition of "us" while still indulging our desires to believe in some broad, sinister "them," we have not really grown any closer to what Dr. King called the beloved community.
Now "community" is a word worth pausing over. None of us may be prepared to define it precisely. But I believe that within the larger family of MIT, community is a concept that people understand, think about, and value these days in a way we may not have before. And I believe that was increasingly true even before September 11, 2001.
Several years ago, our Task Force on Student Life and Learning put us on a new path of building community into the educational experience of our students. And we have seen it begin to take hold among our students, the design of our new buildings, and new programs inside and outside our classrooms. These commitments and new opportunities should mean a true living together, a true working together, regardless of race, class, culture, age, field of study, religion, or experience.
I wish, as Eric pointed out, that I could say that that were uniformly the case at MIT, but of course, I can't. Not yet. We've made progress over the years, but we need to rededicate ourselves to the principles of openness and inclusion if we are to have a real community.
The fact remains that most American adults live largely segregated lives. Our workplaces are increasingly mixed, but our neighborhoods typically are not. For white students especially, their years here at MIT may, in fact, be the most integrated experience of their entire life. And yet, we have much to do if our students-- all of our students-- are to have the real benefits of living and studying in a truly multicultural and multiracial community.
This begins with admissions and access. If we are to provide the kind of environment and education that our students deserve, we must reach out and be open to all those who will best contribute to and benefit from MIT. Without access, there is no inclusion.
We will-- and let there be no misunderstanding about this-- we will continue our commitment to affirmative action in admissions. We will continue to follow the tenets of the Bakke decision, and we will continue to do the hard work necessary to recruit to MIT extraordinarily talented African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and other students of color.
But admitting a richly diverse class each year, as has been said today, is just the beginning. We have an opportunity and, I believe, an obligation to make the MIT experience as positive, constructive, and transformative as possible for each and every one of our students individually and collectively.
We truly must get beyond the illusion and on to the reality of full inclusion. It will take time, and goodwill, and hard work, and faith. But I know that it can be done, that we will reach the place where we can meet each other and know each other simply as human beings, not as distant representatives of some group. And when we do, we will have found the most important route to mutual understanding and true equality.
Despite our frustrations, I continue to be an optimist, perhaps because I see so many bright signs close by here in our own community starting with our four award winners this morning. And another undeniably bright sign has been here with us, too, in the person of Tavis Smiley.
As you probably know, Tavis has launched a new daily audio magazine on National Public Radio geared to an African American audience. But that was only after he had established himself as a wildly popular institution in a dozen other ways with a long running program on BET, as a frequent commentator on several different radio and television networks, as the author of five books, including How To Make Black America Better.
But I must say that my favorite fact about Tavis is that he is currently running symposiums across the country designed to promote the use of technology within the African American community. As he puts it, the subject is e-inclusion, making a digital difference. E-inclusion, openness, and opportunity across our nation and around the world are things that are very much on minds here at MIT as we work to make together to make virtually all of our educational materials freely available to everyone in the world through our OpenCourseWare project.
But enough about us. Ladies and gentlemen, it's my great pleasure to introduce Mr. Tavis Smiley.
SMILEY: Thank you. Y'all better sit down, I ain't said nothing yet. You might want that back in about 20 minutes. I always laugh at folk who give standing ovations before you've ever said anything. You may disagree with everything I had to say. Why did I stand up for that Negro before he ever said something?
I'm delighted to be in Cambridge and to be back in the great state of Massachusetts. Let me commence by thanking your president, Mr. Vest, and his wife for their fine hospitality and for being our tablemates this morning. We had good conversation, delighted to sit with them.
I'm also honored to be at the same table with your immediate past president, Dr. Gray, and his wife. And so it's a good feeling to go somewhere and have two presidents show up to greet you at a table. I must have done something right, I guess, or been lucky for the right table to sit at. So thank you for being here.
I think it is very important. It's always important for me at least, and it makes an impression on me when you show up somewhere at a celebration such as this and the folk who are in charge, who happen not to be African American, deem it important and necessary to be there themselves. And so I'm always honored to see persons who are in charge of making decisions who value these issues, as evidenced by their presence and indeed by their strong words this morning understand that the real essence of diversity is something that has to be addressed and that diversity and tolerance of not just words but indeed ways of life that we have to be more serious about making our reality on a daily basis.
Let me also, before I get into my remarks, thank the co-chairs of this event, Mr. Feld and Mr. Osgood, for the invitation and for the hard work that you and all the committee have done to make this event possible. Wonderful turnout obviously. You couldn't get any more people in here if you wanted to, so it's a great turnout. I think, as has already been said, it does in fact, as you look around the room from this podium, now I get a chance to see what everybody's been talking about how beautiful the room really looks and how this room really does speak to the fact that-- this room, quite frankly, represents a microcosm of what the world really is. And these are the kinds of gatherings, it seems to me, that we ought to be a part of when we talk about celebrating the life and legacy of one Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
So much has been said this morning. I quite frankly have said two or three times to people sitting around me, I don't know why I'm here. I mean everything that needed to be said, has already been said. It has been said. It has been sung. It has been-- you know. I don't know what else y'all expected me to come with this morning. I told Brother Osgood, if you ever set me up like this again, put me up at the end of a program when everything has been said, behind two presidents, two or three choirs, Eric--
--and then 45 minutes behind schedule. And I'm supposed to hit a grand slam. Right. I've been set up. It's a setup. I've been bamboozled, hoodwinked, run amok, and led astray. I am mindful. I am mindful of the time. We are running a little bit behind schedule, so let me offer some abbreviated remarks if I might, but remarks, I hope, that would nonetheless cause us to think as we go along our way.
You'll be happy to know, as a member of the debate team at Indiana University, that my debate coach taught me a couple of very important lessons about public speaking. The first she called the four S's. The four S's. Always remember, Tavis, had to stand up, speak up, shut up, and sit your behind down. Stand up, speak up, shut up, and sit down.
And she said, secondly, that a few minutes-- just a few minutes-- is long enough for a good presentation and too long for a bad one. A few minutes is long enough for a good presentation and too long for a bad one. Now if you're black-- and I see that some of y'all up in here this morning are-- that's a black thing right there, ain't it? Why black folk always got to be up in something? Who started that? Up in MIT. Up in the barber shop. Up in the beauty salon. Up in folk business. We always up in. I don't where that started.
I'm glad you up in here this morning. But the point, the point that I want to make is that if you're black and you've been in a church house before on a Sunday morning, you know what I'm talking about. That a few minutes is long enough for a good presentation and too long for a bad one. Last Sunday, at my own church in Los Angeles, the reverend was doing good at about the 22-minute mark. And then he stretched it a little longer than he should have.
And by the time he got around to opening up the doors of the church, wasn't nobody up in there because he didn't know how to stand up, speak up, shut up, and sit down. I hope, though, in the time that I have left here to be good, to be quick, and to be gone, so that y'all can get on with the rest of your day.
It seems to me, though, right quick here, when you talk about Dr. King in terms of celebrating his life and his legacy, the real essence of King's life, as far as I'm concerned, is challenging each and every one of us. I believe I can put it this way, to reexamine our assumptions. That's my thesis, and I'm sticking with it. That King's life and legacy and his work, at the very core, at its very essence, was about challenging each and every one of us to examine, to indeed reexamine, our assumptions. To reexamine our assumptions.
And everything that King did, everything that he worked for, everything that he labored for, every word that he wrote, every bit of prose that he uttered was all dedicated to the proposition, it seems to me, to challenge each and every one of us, no matter our station in life, to reexamine the assumptions, assumptions about this country, assumptions about its people, indeed assumptions about ourselves.
The life and legacy of King is about challenging us, it seems to me, to reexamine the assumptions. Now, I've got to lay this out as my foundation because if you can't get with that, then you can't get with the rest of what I want to offer you this morning. I hope that we can all agree at least that King's life is about challenging us to reexamine our assumptions, to reexamine those things that we believe to be true.
There is one thing this morning, it seems to me, that all of us have to agree upon, I hope, beyond that. And that is that this moment, today, is a defining moment in the life of this country. This is a defining moment. There have been very few who have bounded up on this podium this morning, have stood behind this lectern, and have not made some reference-- either directly or in some oblique manner-- some reference to September 11 of last year.
For those who are on the lecture circuit, those who are-- not just on the lecture circuit, for any of us, all of us-- it is impossible these days to have conversation without having September 11 come up at some point as a reference. Now I'm bothered by those of us who look at everything through the prism of September 11. I mean, there's a line here that we need to be careful about not crossing. We cannot look at everything. Every decision we make cannot be through the prism of September 11.
You do understand that there was life before September 11. And even though I'm getting less and less confident of this, Mr. Bush, after we hunt him down and smoke him out, after we find him dead or alive, once we know for certain where Mr. Bin Laden is and we get al-Qaeda under control, life we will go on. That's the good news. There was life before September 11, and there will be life after we get this terrorism situation under some better control.
And so it behooves each of us not to look at everything, and not to make every decision, and not to alter our lives in every possible way merely through the prism of September 11. But having said that, who in this room could deny? Who can deny that this is, for America, a defining moment?
This King celebration in the year 2002 as Mr. President said a moment ago is like none other. Things have changed. Things are different. Our lives have been altered in ways, I think, quite frankly forever, but ways that we don't even yet know how dramatically our lives have been altered. We don't even know all of that. The whole has not been told yet of how dramatically our lives have been altered.
But we all must agree, it seems to me, that this is a defining moment in America. You still with me?
SMILEY: All right. So here's the question for me. Since everybody's asking questions, let me ask a question. And particularly since I'm talking to an audience at MIT-- you're much brighter than I am. I can't tell you nothing anyway, so let me ask you a few things. I can do that. I'm good at asking questions. I do that for a living every single day. But far be it for me to try to tell you all anything.
It seems to me that if this is a defining moment, then the question is begged today as to how we take this defining moment and redefine America. I lost somebody. I didn't come all the way from LA to Cambridge to just talk about this being a defining moment, to simply and merely celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King. I could have done that in Los Angeles.
I came here because you are uniquely positioned as the best and the brightest that this country has to offer. Those who will move from this place to become leaders in all kinds of institutions, in corporate America, in government, and beyond, you are uniquely and best positioned to not just raise the question of how we take this defining moment and redefine America, but, indeed, to go about the business of answering that question. Let me submit something to you.
It would be a travesty, for me, for this country to have endured what we endured on the day that those diabolical attacks were levied against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It would be beyond horrific. It is, quite frankly, intolerable. It is unbelievable. It is unacceptable, untenable, quite frankly, to imagine that after what we endured on September 11 with planes taking off from Logan Airport, that those of you in this edifice would allow that day to come and to go, to understand that it is a defining moment for us, and to not do anything about taking this defining moment and redefining America.
Shame on us if we conclude and agree that this is a defining moment for our country and that those of us who are the gifted, those of us who have been blessed beyond measure-- the Bible puts it this way, to whom much is given, much is required. To whom much is given, much is expected. If not you, then who?
Somebody has to ask the tough questions. Somebody has got to raise the issue of how we take this defining moment and redefine America. I want to submit that to you today as perhaps one of the most propitious questions that we ought to be asking ourselves at this juncture in this country's history. How do we take this defining moment and redefine America?
Now, one would think that that has already happened. Indeed, as I've listened to folk behind this podium this morning, there is some evidence. The president spoke, President Vest spoke, rather wonderfully to this notion, as did others who stood up behind this podium moments earlier. Made the argument, I think, quite well that there is some evidence that some progress has been made.
There is some evidence that suggests that since September 11, maybe we've become more humane. Maybe we've become a little less nativist. Maybe we've become better neighbors. Maybe there is a little less racial tension. I don't know. I'm not a scientist, and I've not done a study on this.
All I know is that James Baldwin put it this way. Race is not a personal reality. Race is not a human reality. Race is a political reality. And for those folks who are still black up in here, up in here, you understand that Baldwin was right then, and he's right now that race is still a political reality period.
Now, it seems to me that if we're going to raise this question of this defining moment and how we redefine America, then there's a role for each of us to play in the process of answering that unique question. And while there's evidence, as I said a moment ago-- or intimated at least-- while there's evidence that suggests that we have made some progress, I believe, I believe that there's a great deal more to do.
And for those who are excited about the good that has come out of September 11, for those who believe this country is on a new path, for those who believe that this is a new day, for those who believe we've already gotten the point that America has already been made exponentially better by September 11, from my perspective-- my humble perspective-- let me disabuse you of that notion. I do not believe that enough has been done. I don't believe, quite frankly, that we get it yet.
I do not believe that we get it. We still do not understand what September 11 was all about. We don't get it.
Every defining moment-- I think it's important to note that every defining moment does not necessarily lead to a redefinition of anything. I know this is MIT, and I know y'all believe in cause and effect. And we are told for every cause, there is an effect. And I guess, you know, I guess on some level that must be true.
But it seems to me that we have a cause for September 11, but I'm just not sure yet of what the effect of September 11 is yet or what it is going to be long term. I am convinced of this, that every defining moment in this country's history does not necessarily redefine anything. Just because you have a defining moment doesn't mean there's going to be a redefinition. Can I convinced you of this right quick?
The Civil War was a defining moment for America. On the radio show yesterday, we had Morgan Freeman on the show, who many of you recall was in that wonderful movie, Glory, about the Massachusetts 54th Colored Regiment. Denzel Washington, of course, won an Academy Award for his wonderful portrayal in that movie.
But we had Morgan on yesterday talking about this regiment in the context of February and Black History Month, which we now celebrate, of course. And it occurred to me in our conversation yesterday-- and I've written about this of late-- that while the Civil War was a defining moment, what did it do to redefine America? Specifically for black folk?
This blows me away every time I think about this. Understand that in the Civil War-- it is moving every time I consider this. Here we are in the Civil War with black folk who were, at best, indentured servants, at worst, out and out slaves. At best, indentured servants. At worst, slaves.
And yet these Negroes volunteered to serve, and to fight, and to die for their country. I don't think you feel me on this yet. Black folk who were slaves fighting, mind you, over the institution of slavery, volunteered to serve, and to fight, and to die for their country. That was a defining moment. But what did it do to redefine America for black folk? Nothing.
Fast forward. World War II, a defining moment in this country. Negro soldiers, colored soldiers, went to war to fight and to die to serve their country. A defining moment, but what did it do for black folk in America? Nothing.
Do you realize that these were colored soldiers, these were Negro soldiers, on the train on the way home. Understand this. On the train after fighting on the way back home, Negro soldiers, colored soldiers, had to sit on the train behind Nazi war criminals. Sitting on the train behind Nazi war criminals. A defining moment. But what did it do to redefine America for black folk? Nothing.
The Vietnam War, a defining moment. What did it do to redefine America for black folk? Nothing. Muhammad Ali. You saw the movie. Muhammad Ali had this down. He understood it. And that's why we revere and respect Ali so much today. Of the war in Vietnam, Muhammad Ali put it down as only he could say it. "You keep asking me, no matter how long, about the war in Vietnam. I sing this song. I ain't got no quarrel with the Viet Cong."
Ali understood that. He understood that the Vietnam War was a defining moment. But what was it going to do to redefine America for black folk?
Fast forward now to America's new war. Here we are in 2002 in America's new war. And the question, that urgent question, persists. What will happen in this defining moment to redefine America for black folk?
Now, let me take this concept a little further. The reason why I asked the question about redefining America for black folk is because I believe in the context of Dr. King celebration, and the context of the struggle, in the context of African American History Month, you've got to start at that particular place. You got to start with us.
But I further believe that when you make black America better, you make all of America better. You make black America better, you make all of America better. So I want to be clear about why I'm starting with that thesis at least. You make our community better, you make the country a better place.
But what is this defining moment going to do to redefine America for black folk and for all people of color? I hope I've just convinced you that every defining moment doesn't necessarily redefine, which means that somebody has got to be prepared to do something, to take advantage of a defining moment, and use it to redefine. How does one do that?
I believe that one does that by accepting the challenge that King gave us to reexamine our assumptions. We have to reexamine our assumptions about a variety of things. The president mentioned in my introduction that there are a number of media outlets that we are now employed by. You know, BET was great, and it was wonderful run, but thank God that life goes on. And now there's ABC, and there's CNN. There's NPR and all the other wonderful things that we get a chance to do on a daily basis vis-a-vis the media.
A quick story. Months ago, I signed this contract with CNN and started doing commentary for them during the day side and prime time for ABC on Thursday evenings. And I signed the contract, and I appeared on CNN for a couple of weeks. And then, bam, September 11 came, and all of a sudden, I kind of disappeared.
So black folks all across the country, indeed others, but certainly black folk were writing CNN, and e-mailing me, and calling me, and faxing me, and asking me, Travis--
That's a joke for those who really know my name. They were saying to me, Travis, we saw you on CNN a couple of weeks ago. And now that the war has hit, we want your perspective. Where you at?
And as my English teacher would tell, you know, behind that preposition-- but they'd ask me, where you at? We haven't seen you lately. And I had to go on the radio one day, after weeks of getting all this mail and all these inquiries, because I needed to address this issue. I didn't want folk to think that I'd been hired by CNN and fired that quickly, you know? So I had to explain this.
So I went on the radio said to people, let me just tell you where I've been at and why you haven't seen me on CNN or ABC talking about the war, talking about the attack of September 11. This is just a few weeks removed from the 11th. I said to them very quickly and essentially that I was watching Politically Incorrect one night with my friend Bill Maher. Bill's a dear friend of mine. I love the show.
But I'm watching Bill's show one night, and I see Bill put his foot in his mouth. And some of y'all have followed this controversy with Bill Maher on Politically Incorrect. And there is still a very likelihood that he will lose his show, that the show will be canceled at the end of the season, because Bill said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Some of you recall that Bill Maher suggested in a politically incorrect format, which that's what his show is, so I don't know why he got in trouble, but I digress. Bill said in the show that they had a lot of courage.
It took a lot of courage for these terrorist to train, and to do what they did, and to dedicate themselves. It was wicked courage, but courage to come do what they did and to plan it the way they did. And Bill suggested that we are a bunch of cowards, that we were over here lobbing cruise missiles. We don't have the courage of our convictions to do what they did.
And I understood his analogy. But the Bible puts it this way, all things are lawful, but all things are not expedient. All right. Some of y'all didn't get that. Let me come at that another way. How about how about Kenny Rogers?
You got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. All right. Now I got you. Now I got you. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.
You know, Malcolm X had his relationship with Elijah Muhammad start to deteriorate. When? When after the assassination of JFK, Malcolm X said, the chickens have come home to roost. Wrong thing at the wrong time.
So Bill Maher found himself in trouble for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I saw Bill get in trouble with that. I said, OK. I'm just making notes. I'm paying attention. I'm listening to the radio one day, and I hear Rush Limbaugh on the radio one day go into overdrive blaming the September 11 attack on William Jefferson Clinton. Go figure.
But Limbaugh finds a way to blame the attack on September 11 on the failed policies of the Clinton administration. That's why I love my friends on the right. They will always find a way to blame Clinton for something. And so Rush got in trouble for really jumping out too headstrong politically blaming this on Clinton. Just inappropriate. Limbaugh got slapped down, and got in trouble, and was being challenged in the media for what he had said.
And then I looked up one day and saw my friend the right Reverend Dr. Jerry Falwell put both of his feet, hands, everything else in his mouth when Falwell suggested that the attacks could be blamed on the civil libertarians, on the feminists, on the pagans, on black folk, on the ACLU. Some of y'all saw this comment. You know I'm not making this up.
Did anybody see this? Makes sure-- OK. I want to make sure I'm not talking to myself up here. I'm not making this up. This is a true story.
So Jerry Falwell got in trouble for blaming it on basically everybody except the Christian right. I said to the audience, after recounting these stories, that by my count, that's one, two, three white boys who all got in trouble for running they mouth, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I know if I take my fresh black behind up on CNN and ABC and put it down the way I know I want to put it down, I would be fired with the quickness-- and you would never ever hear the name Travis Smiley again.
And so it wasn't the time. The point is that the time just wasn't right for me to say what I thought needed to be said. The time wasn't necessarily right to ask these tough questions. But oh, brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, there is a time a coming.
And maybe that time is now. And maybe today is the moment that those of us who are dedicated to the principle of making America better after September 11, of making this country live up to her true ideals, of making these documents-- the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence in this great city of Boston-- making our history real, making these documents living and breathing documents.
For those who are dedicated to the proposition that America can be made better, there is no better time than now for us to reexamine our assumptions and to take this defining moment and redefine America. We got to ask some tough questions to do that. Can I offer a few of them to you as we leave here?
I believe we got to start asking the question of what patriotism really is. Let me get myself up some trouble right quick. We got the check already? All right.
You know, some places, you got to ask, do you have to check, Mr. Osgood. Some places, you've got to ask, have we cashed the check. I know at MIT I ain't got to worry about that problem. All right.
I believe we have to start by asking ourselves what patriotism really is and what it means. Can I just be real with you for just a second? Can I keep it real for just a minute?
I've noticed a distinction here. There are two things going on. Some of us are caught up in the patriotism, and I ain't mad at you. Some of us, though, have gotten caught up in nationalism. There is a distinction.
Patriotism is one thing. Patriotism demands that you make your country better by asking the tough questions. Patriotism demands debate. Patriotism sometimes demands dissent.
Nationalism is fanaticism. I'm an American. I'm going to wave a flag. I'm down with whatever Mr. Bush says. Whatever Congress says, I'm down with it. And nobody's prepared to stand in the gap and to raise the tough questions that need to be raised.
And that is not an indictment. I mean to cast no aspersion necessarily on the way that Mr. Bush has stewarded this country since September 11. I think, on balance, he's done a fine job.
But I believe that somewhere in this debate about patriotism were King here with us today, he would be demanding that we make the distinction between patriotism and nationalism. He would demand that we raise the tough questions about what it really means to be an American. He would demand that we raise some tough questions about how we can become a better neighbor in the world.
It's not enough to stand at this podium today and to call off the names of all these wonderful countries that we have Nobel laureates from and that we have students from. MIT is a great institution. But the truth of the matter is that, in part, we found ourselves in this mess on September 11 because of the way we treat folk around the world. We don't want to deal with. We don't want to deal with that.
You've got to ask some tough questions. The chickens have come home to roost. You can't prop up dictators like Mobutu Sese Seko in parts of Africa, befriending anybody who would befriend you during the Cold War, and not think that will come back to haunt you at some point. You can't prop up dictators like Marcos in the Philippines and think that won't come home to haunt you at some time. And the list goes on and on and on and on of, quite frankly, transgressions that we have made, mistakes that we have made.
And I hope, at some point, that somebody has the courage, that somebody has the fortitude, that somebody has the good sense to raise the kinds of questions about the very notion of patriotism and how we behave or misbehave in the world as Americans trying to big stick people. Somebody has got to raise these questions.
And if King were here today-- you're right-- he wouldn't let you get away with calling him just a dreamer. He would challenge us to ask the tough questions about what it means to be an American, how we can become better Americans, and what patriotism really means. King would demand, were he had today, that we ask some questions about foreign policy. Have you noticed that when Bush took office, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Rice were all lined up as unilateralists. It was very clear. It's our way or the highway.
It was hawkish. It was John Wayne. It was to hell with the Kosovo treaty. We ain't signing it. We going to get out of it. We're not going to South Africa to no racism conference. No, we ain't going. Our way or the highway, that was the unilateral approach when they came into office.
Oh my, how things have changed. Colin Powell was the only one standing over here with a multilateral approach, saying that we have got to engage the world. We've got to be better neighbors. We got to rethink how we do our policy, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. They didn't want to hear that.
But now, I have noted at least of late the administration now speaking more with one voice. And maybe now, they're starting to get the fact that we have to have a multilateral, a we, not an us versus them approach, to how we engage the world. But why did it have to come at the expense of those 3,000 lives at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and in those planes? We ought to have better sense then to understand that we've got to have a better way to engage our neighbors and our friends around the globe. We've got to raise some tough questions about foreign policy.
Everybody gets caught up in this euphoria about Dr. King, and nobody recalls that King had dropped precipitously in opinion polls at the time of his death. Go back and check your facts. King was not at the top of the popularity polls when he died because of his opposition to the war in Vietnam.
As I recall-- don't quote me on this-- I don't even think King made the top five. He may have barely made the top 10 in the Time poll at the time of his death based upon popularity and likability. That q-rating that he had had dropped dramatically. King understood that. He wasn't bothered by it.
He wasn't bothered by because King understood that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of controversy and challenge. Somebody's got to ask the tough questions about foreign policy. It's not just a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King, but understanding that we have to reexamine the assumptions. This issue of civil liberties that are, quite frankly, out of control.
I don't feel safer today with regard to the issue of racial profiling than I did a few days ago just because somebody else is now the target. No, no, no, no, no. I know too many brothers in my neighborhood in South Central who look like some Arabs that we think are responsible for what happened who we want to go after. Are you feeling me on this? I know some folk of Arab descent who look just like some of y'all up in this room today. The shade of their skin-- are you feeling me on this? The shade of their skin is very similar and very akin to yours.
The problem is we have an administration now that's doing an overreach on civil liberties. I think we all agree that there's got to be a balance between civil liberties and doing away and ending terrorism. But it's got to be done in a culturally competent way. It's got to be done in a socially responsible way. And I don't know that we are achieving that.
If King were here today, he'd be asking us to reexamine our assumptions about how we're going to go after terrorists, about how we're going to condone this racial profiling that's going on now. Once they get these laws, once they get these rules on the books, as they're getting every day, a few years from now, who do you think these rules are going to be used against? You, driving while black, walking while black, breathing while black, living while black, just being black and brown.
We got to reexamine our assumptions about what it means to have this debate about racial profiling. Got to reexamine our assumptions about this. Somebody's got to ask some tough questions about the media. I'm just giving you some food for thought here this morning.
Did you notice, during all the coverage, here you have a city like New York, arguably one of greatest cities in the world, the most multicultural, multiracial, and multi-ethnic city in the world. And yet, how many people of color did you see reporting the news to you every night out of New York? Some of y'all didn't even peep that out.
We're talking about coming together as a nation. Do you see the irony here? Do you see, quite frankly, the hypocrisy here? We are talking together about coming together as a nation, and we shall overcome, and God bless America, and America the Beautiful, and yada, yada, yada, yada, yada. And yet, I'm watching the news every night. I don't see nobody looking like me reporting the news. I don't see folk like me, quite frankly, routinely who are victims of this tragedy.
I didn't see no cops who looked like me. Wasn't no firefighters who look like me because there ain't no black firefighters in the New York Fire Department comparatively speaking. My point is simply this-- that while we talk about coming together and the good that's come out of this tragedy, there are some assumptions that still need to be reexamined. And King would not let us off the hook so easily.
He wouldn't let us off the hook talking about his life and his legacy without understanding what his life and legacy was about, getting us to reexamine the assumptions and to challenge the prevailing wisdom to challenge the status quo. Nobody wants to have these conversations right now, but these are the real issues. This is what really has to happen if America is going to be made better out of this tragedy. Somebody has got to ask some questions about religious intolerance, racial intolerance.
You realize that hate is alive and well in this country. They're not walking up and down the street with hoods and sheets like they used to, but hate is spreading in this country. And do you know where hate is spreading fastest? On the internet.
There are more sites popping up every month dedicated to the notion of spreading hate than any other genre on the net, any other genre on the web. That's one reason, Mr. President, one of the reasons why we're doing this technology summit and partnering with Bill Gates and traveling around the country. Gates and I were together in LA last week, going to three other cities this year with a whole tour called Blacks and Technology. Free. Open to the public. Trying to get black folks to understand, to appreciate, to embrace this thing called technology.
Because I am determined to not allow this technological revolution to pass people of color by and we not get a little something something out of it, number one. But number two, to allow this technology, as the president said, to be turned in a wicked way and used against us. We've got to use it for our good, for our benefit, and not allow other folks to use it for our detriment. But hate is spreading fastest on the internet.
Nobody's talking about technology and how we are being left out of that process. We talk about the technology we have to go hunt people down and smoke them out. We're talking about technology in terms of how we zoom in. And we're taking credit for how we use technology to wipe out this building and wipe out this truck.
I mean, I'm fascinated sometimes by how much we've done in our Defense Department. We can target a truck going down the road 10,000 miles away and take out a truck on a road with somebody in it who we want. And yet, we can't get our schools wired in the inner city. Hello. Can't wire schools in the inner city. But we can't have that conversation.
See we up here in the clouds with the life and the legacy. And that ain't where King was. King was down here getting us to reexamine the assumptions. Finally, there's a litany of domestic policy issues that King would be demanding that we talk about at the appropriate time. If we really are talking about making America better, it can't just be MIT. It can't just be MIT dedicated to the notion of affirmative action.
We have to have a country and a government that understands that affirmative action is a corrective policy that works. Everybody has to understand that. Got to understand that.
That's what King would be talking about. We've got to do something about predatory lending, about why we go after people of color and the indigenous community and predatory lending ways. One, you can't get no money. And if you get it, they charge you more to get it because of what you look like and where you live.
Insurance redlining. I could do an end run on you here. A long litany of things that we are not talking about, that we are not debating, because we have been stifled by this war on terrorism.
Immigration policy. Education. A long list of things that we have to address. And if King were here today, he would not be leading us off the hook with the mere notion of celebrating his life and his legacy his wonderful work and his wonderful prose. He would be demanding and challenging us to reexamine the assumptions that we hold about America, about how wonderful we think we are, about how great we think we are, about how wonderful a neighbor we think we are, about how good a world citizen we think we are, and about how wonderful we all feel about the good-- allegedly-- that has come out of this tragedy.
I believe that some good has come out of it. But I believe there's a great deal more that we have to challenge America to do to live up to her true ideals. King put it this way. Cowardice asks, is it safe. Expediency asks, is it politic? Vanity asks, is it popular? But conscience asks, is it right?
And every now and then, ladies and gentlemen, we must take positions that are neither comfortable, nor safe, nor politic, nor convenient. But we do it because our conscience tells us that it's right. There's an old gospel song that I love so much. Hearing this choir this morning, my mind went back to it. It says, I'm pressing all the upward way. New heights I'm gaining every day. Still praying as I'm onward bound. Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
It says, my heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay. Though some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim, is higher ground. What are we doing to attain, to reach, that higher ground?
Eric mentioned Morehouse. Benjamin Elijah Mays, who taught Dr. King everything he knew, put it like this. "The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach." It is not a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to not be able to capture your ideals, but it is a disaster to have no ideals to capture.
It is not a disgrace to not be able to reach all of the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure. Not failure, but low aim is sin.
Now, why does that matter? Because what gets most of us most of the time in our effort to make America better is not that we fail, but that our aim is too low. It's not that the president fails in trying to expand diversity at MIT, it's that, too often, our aim is too low. It's not that we fail at what we do to make our communities better, it's that our aim is too low.
How high are we reaching? What goals are we setting? What are we really attempting to accomplish? It's not the failure that gets us, it's our low aim.
And in trying to make MIT and in trying to make America better, when we fail at what we try, too many of us get knocked down and don't get back up. But my grandmother, Big Mama, said to me all the time, Tavis, you can't win it if you ain't in it. Advocacy is not a spectator sport. To make a difference, honey, you've got to get off the sideline and get involved in the game.
To make a difference, you got to reexamine those assumptions. To make a difference, you've got to ask those tough questions. Life is like a heart monitor. It goes up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down. And the ups and down are all good. Don't let that sucker flatline on you. That's what you're trying to avoid. But the ups and downs of trying to make a contribution, the ups and downs of trying to make a difference is to be expected.
I told some students the other day that being black is like flying on an airplane. Being an American, quite frankly-- forget being black-- being an American is like flat on a plane. Forgive the reference. What do I mean?
When you get on that plane, you've all heard it before. They tell you, in the unlikely event-- they don't want to scare you to death. They don't want to mess with your nerves, so they tell you, in the unlikely event of a sudden loss of air pressure, the oxygen mask will drop from the compartment above your head. What they tell you to do with that mask?
Take the mask and put it on yourself first before you assist the person seated next to you. What's your point, Tavis? You can't help nobody else in America unless you first help yourself. And that's what these celebrations are all about, getting us, getting us to reexamine our own assumptions, preparing us to ask the tough questions, preparing us, then, to go out and do something to help make black America and all of America better.
In the final analysis I believe-- and it is true-- that he who starts behind in the great race of life must forever remain behind or run faster than the man in front. It's time for all of us to pick up the pace.
GOMEZ: Thank you, Mr. Smiley, for your heartfelt words. And now, it is my pleasure to introduce Provost Robert A. Brown. Provost Brown will recognize the 2001-2002 Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professors.
BROWN: It's really a pleasure to introduce an outstanding group of colleagues to you this morning. The MLK Visiting Professor Program was established at MIT to bring into our community a wonderful group of black and Hispanic scholars to enrich our environment. I think today has been a wonderful opportunity for them to share with us really truly inspirational talks by a couple of our students and by Tavis.
And I think that if we did give honorary admissions to our undergraduate class, Tavis would receive one having already passed the rhetoric requirement.
The MLK program sponsors faculty and scholars all over the Institute. We currently have visitors in the Urban Studies and Planning Department, Physics, Material Science and Engineering, Chemistry, and the Sloan School. Several of them were with us for breakfast. A couple have had to leave because, as is a calling in the profession, if you have a class, you must teach.
And actually, today's the first day of class. And if there is a bad form-- for some of us. And if there is a bad form for a faculty member, it's to be late to the first day of class.
Let me begin by introducing Dr. Edna Ambundo. Edna is an MLK Visiting Scholar in the Department of Chemistry. She received her BS degree from the University of Nairobi in Kenya and her PhD from Wayne State University. She is participating in research and teaching in the Chemistry Department in collaboration with Professor Steve Lippert, the department head. Welcome, Edna.
Now the next two colleagues are not with us, but I want to mention their names. Otis Jennings is visiting in the Sloan School of Management. He's completed his PhD in industrial and systems engineering at Georgia Tech University where he was an NSF Graduate Fellow and a Georgia Tech Presidential Fellow. He received his BS degree in engineering from Princeton, and he's visiting the Operations Research Center.
Raul Lejano in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning left a few minutes ago to go teach. He's visiting in urban studies and planning. His PhD is environmental health science, and he's currently on the faculty of UC Irvine in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.
Phillip Thompson with us from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Phil is an associate professor of political science at Columbia. Welcome, Phil.
He earned his PhD in political science from the City University of New York and a BA in psychology from Harvard University and a master's in urban planning from Hunter College. Before joining the faculty of Columbia, he was deputy general manager of operations of the New York City Housing Authority and head of the mayor's office for housing coordination in New York under Mayor David Dinkins.
Sekazi Mtingwa is visiting us. He's at the Laboratory of Nuclear Science and Physics in the Department of Physics. Professor Mtingwa is an alumni of MIT. He holds both a BS in physics and mathematics from the Institute. As well, he has a PhD in physics from Princeton. He joined North Carolina A&T State University in the Department of Physics in 1991 and served as chair of the department from '91 through '94. He's also taught at the University of Illinois in Chicago, the University of Rochester, and Morgan State University.
Finally, let me introduce Professor Eni Njoko--
--who's visiting in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Eni is also an alumnus of MIT. He received his PhD and his SM degree here, both in civil engineering. He holds a BA degree in natural sciences and electrical sciences from Cambridge University in England. He is currently a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he's a principal investigator specializing in satellite imaging for oil moisture estimation and the technology of large microwave radiometric antennas. He's also taught at Harvey Mudd University while being at JPL.
Welcome to you all.
GOMEZ: We will now continue with some announcements relevant to the celebration. I would like to announce that the Martin Luther King Committee presents the student dedication to the Martin Luther King installation to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King. Again, that's in Lobby 10, so I invite you all to go see it.
Now I would like to ask Reverend Amy McCreath to come forward to give us the benediction to close this morning's program.
MCCREATH: Would you please stand? Let us go forth with courage equipped for the work of doing justice, empowered with skills and vision to heal, to reconcile, and to liberate. Let us go forth in peace to be the peace we seek, confident that what unites us is more powerful and eternal than what separates us one from another. Let us go forth together locking arms and joining hearts, strengthening one another for the work ahead, celebrating what we accomplished together. Together. Together.
Let us go forth in joy, reveling in the good news that our creator has called us at this holy time to holy work and confident that love will prevail. May justice roll down our limbs and through our veins and pour out from our mouths and be the fruit of our labors that righteousness and peace may abide like a mighty stream. Amen.
GOMEZ: I hope you have enjoyed this morning's program. It's been a wonderful event, which I'm sure will remain in our thoughts for a long time. Thank you all for coming. And I hope to see you next year. This concludes our 20th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Thank you.