35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration - Johnnetta B. Cole
DORIAN DARGAN: Good morning. Yeah, we're ready. I'm going to-- I'm going to try to get everybody's attention.
Good morning. Good morning, everyone. Good morning. Yeah. I hope you're all awake.
Hi, I'm Dorian Dargan, and this is MIT Gospel Choir, and we're going to have a few selections for you guys this morning. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks.
Imagine me loving what I see when the mirror looks at me cause I I imagine me. In a place of no insecurities and I'm finally happy cause I imagine me.
Letting go of all of the ones who hurt me cause they never did deserve me can you imagine me? Saying no to thoughts that try to control me remembering all he told me. Lord, can you imagine me? Over what my momma said and healed from what my daddy did and I want to live and not read that page again.
Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me. I admit it was hard to see you being in love with someone like me but finally I can imagine me.
Being strong and not letting people break me down. You won't get that joy this time around. Can you imagine me. In a world, in a world, where nobody has to live afraid? Because of your love, fear's gone away. Can you imagine me?
Letting go of my past and glad I have another chance and my heart will dance cause I don't have to read that page again. Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me. I admit it was hard to see you being in love with someone like me. But finally I can imagine me.
Melodies from heaven, Rain down on me, Rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain down on me, rain down on me. Take me in your arms and hold me close, rain down on me, rain down on me. Fill me with your precious holy ghost, rain down on me, rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain down on me, rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain down on me, rain down on me. Take me in your arms and hold me close, rain down on me, rain down on me. Fill me with your precious holy ghost, rain down on me, rain down on me. Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain down on me.
Melodies from heaven, Yeah, rain down on me, rain down, rain down on me. Say, melodies from heaven, rain down on me, rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain down on me, rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain down on me, rain down on me, rain down on me, rain down on me, rain down on me, rain down on me.
PRESENTER: Good morning. My name is [INAUDIBLE], and I am a senior in the Sloan School of Management and the School of Urban Studies and Planning. I will be your Mistress of Ceremonies for today's breakfast celebration. Please join me in thanking the MIT gospel choir.
In the spirit of our celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King, we would like you to greet, meet, or shake hands with someone near you at your table, across from you, or behind you.
PRESENTER: Welcome to the 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior Celebration. I would like to take this moment to thank President Susan Hockfield and her husband, Dr. Thomas Byrne, for hosting this event. I would also like to welcome Dr. [? Genetico. ?] It is a pleasure to have you here this morning.
Furthermore, I would like to thank all the members of the Martin Luther King, Junior Celebration subcommittee of the presidential committee on race and diversity to whom we owe this wonderful morning. When I call your names, please stand up. Professor Don [? Demonsho, ?] Assistant Director of the Global Education and Career Development Center, Deborah [? Liberman, ?] Co-director of Office of Government and Community Relations, Paul [? PowerBano, ?] Administrative Assistant for the Spectroscopy Laboratory, Xena Queen-- Undergraduate Administrator of Political Science, Toby [? Weiner, ?] Reverend John [? Westneck ?] of the MIT Board of Chaplains-- Assistant Dean for Graduate Education, Christopher Jones-- Chancellor Phillip L. Clay, Ex-officio, and Committee Chair Professor J. Phillip Thompson.
Thank you all for contributing to the success of this event. The theme for this year's breakfast is, Yes, We Must Achieve Diversity Through Leadership. Throughout the election year, we heard, yes, we can. And now that we did what was necessary to move the country forward, we can turn our attention to MIT. We, the MIT community, must do what is necessary to continue achieving diversity through leadership to the nation and beyond.
This morning's program will begin with an invocation from Reverend John Westneck. Following the invocation, we will have breakfast, during which we will have a musical selection from the MLK Junior IAP Design Seminar Group. Now, let us begin the breakfast with the invocation by Reverend John Westneck, a member of the MIT Board of Chaplains.
PRESENTER: Bless to us, O God, our celebration this morning. Recognizing the clear challenge of Dr. Martin Luther King's vision for all. Bless to us, O God, new faces in high places. Our challenge and progress, for sure. Bless to us, O God, our mandate to have for all what many don't. Our work to do what others won't. Bless to us, O God, our leadership and many differences, the opportunity we must.
We lift before you this morning our table which graces us with food, those who prepared it, and bring it in clean. Our song, our talk, our laughter, our eating, our thought and deed, all we lift to you, O God. Amen.
PRESENTER: Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you've enjoyed your breakfast. We will now continue with the rest of our program. Please welcome the MLK IAP Design Seminar Group, who will be performing an original song entitled, Where do we go from here?
CHOIR MEMBER: That's not ours.
So apparently you don't have our music, so we're going to try singing it acapella. All right. OK. One, two, three.
Years ago, skies were gray. We're still looking for a brighter day. MLK said it best. He had a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further do we have to go? Can you tell me where do we go from here? I remember when the South had slaves, and there was no peace among races.
Lots of families through the auction trade. You could see the stares on their faces. Emancipation [INAUDIBLE] You don't need chains to [INAUDIBLE].
No more shackles, but in our minds we're still enslaved. Opportunity seems so hopeless. Years ago, skies were gray. We're still looking for a brighter day. MLK said it best. He had a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further do we have to go? Can you tell me where do we go from here?
I remember when Dr. King was shot. Add it to the list of lynching and beatings. Social equality seemed so far off. Well, now, the government had white faces. Reaganomics war on drugs and Rodney King, high unemployment, low health. Where we are right now just isn't good enough. It's going to be better somewhere else.
Years ago, skies were gray. We're still looking for a brighter day. MLK said it best, he had a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further do we have to go? Can you tell me where do we go from here?
Earthquakes, famine, and disease, poverty, and poor education. You would think in this time of technology, prejudice wouldn't still plague our nation. President Obama, what are you doing for us? We're ready for changes. We have made great leaps, but we still have far to go. But we believe it's a brand new day.
Years ago, skies were gray. We're still looking for a brighter day. MLK said it best. He had a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further do we have to go? Can you tell me where do we go from here? Years ago, skies were gray. We're still looking for a brighter day. MLK said it best. He had a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further do we have to go? Can you tell me where do we go from here?
PRESENTER: Thank you very much. Now, I have the pleasure of introducing two of our very own students-- Matt Gathers, a senior in biological engineering, and Joy Johnson, 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 Matt Gathers. Matt?
GATHERS: Good morning, everyone. MIT did something very brave and very dangerous this morning. They gave me my breakfast before I gave the remarks that I was supposed to give this morning. I should be halfway back to bed right now just to teach you all a lesson.
Good morning, again. My name is Matt Gathers. I'm a senior in biological engineering and I'm honored to share some remarks on the role of diversity in our society. I'd like to begin with a story. The story takes place in the 1940s, begins in South Carolina, and it starts when a young man-- young black man named Leroy picks up his brother, Rock, as he's discharged from the Navy.
On the way home, Lee and Rock decide that they want to pick up some cigarettes, so they go to a convenience store. Rock goes inside and Lee stays in the car. After a few minutes, Lee hears a commotion. And fearing the worst, he goes inside to investigate.
When he gets there, he sees three white men all surrounding Rock telling him that he has no business in the store, and they're beginning to move in on him. That's all Lee needed to see. He let out a yell and a few minutes later those three men were unconscious on the ground.
Lee and Rock went back home. They told the family what had just happened. Everyone agreed Lee had to get out of the South. If he didn't, those three men-- probably more-- would come for him, and the police would be of no help. That's not a surprising conclusion.
In fact, I'm willing to bet that Lee knew that he would have to get out of the South the minute he made the decision to defend his brother. That didn't stop him. I have to admire the courage it took for Lee to assert his God-given rights. For better or for worse, that's an assertion that members of my generation rarely ever have to make. I have to wonder that if I were faced with the same challenge, would I have had the courage that Lee, happens to be my grandfather, had that morning?
If it were up to me to secure the rights of my race, to be brave, to put my life on the line, would I have had the courage to do so? If it were up to me to refuse to give up my seat on a bus, if it were up to me to demand my seat in a school to get my education, would I even be allowed to stand at this podium this morning?
The answer these questions are going to remain unknown to me because the past is the past. I can't, nor do I want to, relive it. That's a bittersweet reality. On the one hand, I'll unlikely-- it's unlikely that I'll ever have to endure the trials my ancestors faced.
But on the other hand, I want to share in the work and the sacrifice that have secured my inalienable rights as a citizen of this country and of this world. Here in the United States, our laws and institutions now reflect what we know to be right with respect to race, gender, and disability. But law has no jurisdiction over our hearts and minds.
When we doubt our classmates, calling them the product of affirmative action, when we wish that someone would go back to his own country and stop competing with real Americans for jobs, when we remove natural born American citizens from our planes and our trains and our subways because they resemble a madman who kills innocence in the name of God, we grow ever more distant from that dream.
We've done well in purging racism and hatred from our laws and institutions, but now to realize Dr. King's dream fully, we have to purge it from our hearts and minds. The path to victory in this second battle of the great war demands that we achieve diversity through leadership. Because you see, it's not enough to know that we're created equally. We have to live it every day, or we default to ignorance and hatred.
In the absence of diversity, stereotype reigns. It's like a parasite that fills voids of knowledge that should be filled by personal experience and reason. Stereotype rationalizes placing blame where it doesn't belong. Affirmative action for not getting into your dream school or the drive for a diverse workplace for not getting that promotion you wanted. Stereotype even causes members of your own race to look down on you for something as petty as your taste in music or something as important as the person you choose to marry.
But most importantly, and most dangerously, stereotype causes us to doubt ourselves. In my work with Cambridge Public School students, the greatest tragedy isn't the low test score. It's not even the palpable fear of math and science one block away from MIT. It's the fact that these students honestly don't believe they could grow up to become an astronaut or a physicist or a mathematician or even the president. And why? Because little black girls don't grow up to become CEOs. Latinos have no business in the US Senate. And people from this neighborhood, they just don't go to college.
Yes, we must achieve diversity through leadership, because it's only when these students can see themselves and people who are breaking the mold, who are changing, redefining what it means to be black, to be Hispanic, to be a woman, to be gay, to be poor, that will restore their sacred right to dream. For breaking that mold takes courage and it takes leadership. The same courage and the same leadership it took to stand up to Klansmen. The same courage and the same leadership it took to march on Washington. And, yes, the same courage and the same leadership it took for my grandfather to defend his brother in that store.
It's his courage and this leadership that's going to inspire our youth and our elders alike to abolish our prejudices towards one another and to bring into light a prophecy that when this happens, when we allow freedom reign, when it rings from every village and every Hamlet, every state and every city, we'll be able to speed up that day when all of God's children-- black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, can join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty we're free at last. Thank you.
PRESENTER: Thank you very much, Matt. We will now hear from Joy Johnson. Joy?
JOHNSON: Good morning. I am Joy Johnson, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science from Greensboro, North Carolina. North Carolina. OK.
I remember the day my dad took off work, which he never does, to come to my school for a parent principal meeting, which I prayed he would never have to do. It was like a dark cloud descended upon that high school. I would rather had been the [? rapture ?] than my father.
But, you know, I hadn't cut class, I had been suspended. I hadn't even failed a subject. What I had done was apply for a scholarship. A scholarship which required my counselor to send in my transcript. And so weeks went by not hearing anything, I started to begin to think that maybe I wasn't good enough, maybe I didn't deserve it.
And so one day I got a phone call from the Park Scholarships. It's a full merit scholarship to North Carolina State. And they said, we're very interested in interviewing you but we haven't received your transcript. So I began to call around and seems like no one had received my transcript. But my classmates, all white, had been sent and received in due form.
I asked my counselor about it and she said, I simply forgot. And that's the reason why my father descended upon Grimsley High School. It was a high school that neither he nor my mother could attend for the same reason she had forgotten that transcript. And many times, the intelligent and the disenfranchised like suffer from what psychologists like to call, the imposter syndrome.
It's a syndrome in which the sufferers are unable to internalize their own accomplishments, and thus they feel like they don't deserve them. We ask ourselves, do we even belong here? What do we need to do to become as equal, as smart, or as intelligent as everyone else?
Well, many times the imposter is not us at all. The theme for this celebration is, yes, we must. But what must we do? For so long, we've been achieving, inventing, and discovering. But for that same time our achievements have been overlooked. Our inventions stolen, and our discoveries rediscovered. And the imposters themselves have been doing it so long that they perfected the very art of fraud.
Everyone always speaks of Dr. King's, I Have a Dream speech, in which he says, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal." But this statement in itself is fraudulent. These, in fact, are not the words of Thomas Jefferson, but the words of his neighbor, an Italian immigrant by the name of Philip [? Mazai. ?]
But what Dr. King knew and what we now know is that the duality of hypocrisy transcends these-- just the injustice of these words. What he knew was that the issues between de facto and de jure law were not new, nor were they original. There are so many untold injustices and impostors in history that are simply forgotten, stories of black musicians like Robert Johnson and Roy Brown, who in 1947 were playing rock and roll before Elvis ever picked up a guitar.
Stories of people like the black sharecroppers of Tuskegee, Alabama who were used mercilessly as lab rats to come up with the drugs and treatments that we now use to treat syphilis, whose names are in no medical journal. People like Vivian Thomas, who created not only the medical trials, surgical procedures, but the actual instruments to serve the-- excuse me-- to serve infants who have blue baby syndrome. But whose credit was given to the white doctor whom he worked for as a janitor and later a medical apprentice.
And even in light of our historical election, not once did I hear the name of Shirley Chisholm, who in 1972 became the first black major party candidate for President of the United States, and the first female to run for the Democratic Presidential Nomination.
But each African-American has a story of their own family members, their own relatives, whom the imposter has served this plate of injustice. We have relatives whose contribution to knowledge have been ignored and whose rights have been denied on every front, but they fought on. And yet, we find ourselves here.
So now I ask you, do you feel like an impostor when you walk on this campus? Do you ask yourself what must I do? If the mantra is, yes, we must, then what must we do? But I believe that Dr. King put it best in his Give Us the Ballot address when he said, "The hour is late. The clock of destiny is ticking. The time to act is now." He said we must work passionately and unrelentingly towards the goal of freedom.
But we must keep our hands clean in the struggle. We must not struggle with falsehood, hate, or malice. We at MIT have an extraordinary opportunity, as even our own mission states, we must work to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology and other areas of scholarship to serve this nation and this world.
It doesn't say some students, majority students, or minority students, or even all students. And I think that this lack of differentiation is indicative of the transparency we must have for true innovation, for true intellectual advancement. And it requires that we have interactions with one another, not only in the labs, in the classrooms, in the corridors, [? Infineon ?] or otherwise. We must give credit where credit is due. Not only in our academic work but in our everyday lives.
And this must begin with acknowledgment. Speaking to one another. Speaking to our janitors, our lab technicians, our bus drivers, as eagerly as we speak to our Institute professors. We must show integrity in our collaborations with everyone. In our fervent pursuit of solving the world's problems, we must show the world that this Institution's decisions are made on merit and not on nepotism, cronyism, or racism.
We must, as our mission states, serve this nation and this world through our research, our talent, and our intellect. We must realize that we are the dream that Martin dreamed at that university just across the Charles River. And we must, as our President has charged us in his most transparent version of those infamous words, we must realize that the time has come for us to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that promise, that precious gift, that's been passed on from generation to generation. The God-given promise that all are equal. All are free and all deserve the chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. Thank you.
PRESENTER: Thank you, Joy. Once again, I would like to thank both Matt and Joy for their timely remarks and for letting the word of Dr. King be heard once more.
Now, I have the honor of asking Chancellor Phillip Clay to come to the podium and recognize the 2009 MLK Leadership Awardees. Chancellor Clay?
CLAY: Good morning. And thank you very much. I'm delighted to follow Matt and Joy because they come from the same part of the country I do, in the Carolinas. And I'm delighted that the State is still exporting such great talent.
Last night, we had a dinner honoring the winners of the Martin Luther King Leadership Awards, and to welcome Dr. Johnetta Cole, our speaker. We had a lovely evening in the tradition of celebrating leadership. And we celebrate it with a particular meaning in mind, that is, those who are anointed as our leaders are first our servants.
Dr. King in several of his sermons underscored that point, that leadership is not purchased. It's not something with which one is anointed, but it is earned through service. So we were pleased to honor last night, and I ask you to recognize several of our colleagues-- faculty, staff, and students-- who were given the awards. I will ask them to stand as I call their names.
First, students Alicia Bob Simple, Jason [? Fort. ?]
There are two staff members-- Deborah Liberman and Barry [? Reckley. ?] This is a busy season. It's Sloan admission, so that's probably where he is. And two faculty-- Professor John [? Esseigman, ?] and Professor Christine Ortiz.
Thank you very much.
PRESENTER: Thank you, Chancellor Clay, and congratulations to the recipients of the award. Please welcome Hiram Etienne, an MIT employee in the electrical engineering and computer science department who will now share a special song selection.
ETIENNE: Good morning. I remember Dr. King talking about our common denominator. And in so doing, he gave his own eulogy. And what he said was that on that day, if you have somebody speak for me, don't have them stay too long. He said, don't have them talk about my degrees. Don't have them tell you anything about my hundreds of awards. He was like, don't have them talk about my Nobel Peace Prize. He was like, on that day, just tell them I was a drum major for justice. I was a drum major for peace. And I tried to help someone.
I was born by the river in a little tent. Oh, and like the river, I've been running, running ever since. It's been a long, long time coming. But I know a change going to come.
It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die. Oh, I don't know what's up there way beyond the sky. It's been a long, long time coming, long time coming, but I know change coming, change going to come. Listen.
It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die. I don't know what's up there way beyond the sky. It's been a long, long time coming, long time coming, but I-- I know change is going to come.
Then I go to my brother. I say brother, please, brother, please, help me, please. But he winds up knocking me, knocking me back down on my knees.
There was times when I thought this couldn't last for long. I didn't know if I was able to carry on. It's been a long, long time coming, long time coming, but I know that change is going to come.
PRESENTER: Thank you, Hiram, that was quite moving. It now gives me great pleasure to welcome the 16th President of MIT, Dr. Susan Hockfield. She will give some remarks and proceed to introduce our keynote speaker, Dr. Johnetta Cole. President Hockfield?
HOCKFIELD: What a magnificent gift. Thank you. That was extraordinary. Actually, this morning is extraordinary.
[AUDIENCE REPLIES GOOD MORNING]
It is indeed a beautiful new day. I welcome you all. It is an extraordinary delight to be here this morning with all of you on this new day for our campus, for the nation, for the world. The future looks extraordinarily bright from where we sit today.
I want to particularly welcome Estella Johnson, who is here from the City of Cambridge. She's the Director of Economic Development, and we are always delighted to have representatives from our fair city here to join us.
Many thanks are due this morning. I want to particularly thank our hosts for this morning, the Committee on Race and Diversity. Phil and I were just saying that on MIT's annual calendar, the celebration of Dr. King's legacy continues to be an important landmark. Each year is more inspiring than the year before. And we think, how in the world are we going to do this again next year? Gets better and better. This day is a personal inspiration for each of us to help realize the ideals of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.
I also want to express my thanks and my admiration to Matt and Joy for their presentations. Absolutely breathtaking. And I want to thank you for the extraordinary standard that you set for all of us. Now, as you, I believe, know Matt has been selected as one of MIT's 2 Rhodes Scholars for next year.
It's an extraordinary achievement to be sure, and Matt certainly exemplifies what the Rhodes Scholarship stands for. They're known for their breadth and their intensity. And I would say that Matt could not present a more compelling example. From the inspired creativity of his research in synthetic biology to the courage of his work as an emergency medical technician. From the generosity and imagination he's shown in teaching engineering in the local public schools, and to the discipline and leadership he's brought to the fencing team, where he has been one of the team's stars.
And this morning we had a sample of his extraordinary rhetorical powers. He represents the very best of MIT. And it gives me great pride to know that he's going to be representing MIT to the world at Oxford next year. Now, if we have to let Matt go to other shores, there's some consolation in knowing that Joy will be with us on campus for yet a little while longer.
She's advanced the frontiers of knowledge in micro and nanofabrication. And in the windows of her spare time, and who knows how she can find any spare time, she opens the world of engineering to high school girls in Dorchester and Roxbury. Joy, too, represents the best of MIT.
And I want to really begin my remarks in earnest with a line from a delightful blog that Joy manages to keep amidst all her other activities. She writes for EECS. Now, what I'm going to quote is something that happens on the page just after the page that she has talked about a life-changing three work-- three week trip to India. And she writes this.
"I once heard that your brain is like an old sweater. Once it's been stretched, it will never go back to its original shape." Thank the Lord that our minds work that way.
Now, at the celebration last year, I describe the excitement of being in the middle of an unprecedented political contest. Remember, a year ago last February. And a contest in which, as I put it, two candidates with a very serious chance of winning the Presidency of the United States, are an African-American man and a woman. And I would remind you that a year ago we had no idea the extraordinary outcome of this year's election.
Today, just a little more than two weeks since the inauguration of President Obama-- President Obama, the old sweater of our national consciousness has been irreversibly stretched in magnificent new directions. And believe me, it won't go back. As inspiring as this milestone certainly is for young people, it carries an immense power for those of us who are old enough to have lived in a very different, much less embracing time.
Now, President Obama's election was momentous in itself. But what made the victory historic was not merely the identity of our new President. It was the new America that showed through so clearly in his election. President Obama's support came from young and old, from every race. From Americans born in this country and from Americans who had immigrated here from around the world.
The truth that this election shows is that a richly diverse America does not await us. It is upon us. It's our present, and it is our future. It is the wonderfully heterogeneous nation from which we draw and will continue to draw most of our faculty, students, and staff. It is the America we serve as an Institute and that our students will go on to lead.
At MIT, we rightly pride ourselves on inventing the future. To invent this future for this new America, we cannot permit MIT to reflect a nation of the past. That is the context behind the theme today, yes, we must. Yes, we must achieve a higher level of diversity and inclusion at MIT. And getting to that level calls on leadership throughout the Institute.
It was at the celebration a year ago that I committed MIT to holding a diversity leadership Congress as a way to bring these issues to the top of the Institute's agenda. To accelerate our progress, and to engage the Institute's distributed leadership. Distributed leadership. That means those people with the most direct working responsibility for making diversity and inclusion a daily reality at MIT.
As you know, we held the Congress late last semester calling together more than 300 academic, administrative, and student leaders. It was energizing. It was constructive, and it produced lots of good practical ideas. But it also helped us appreciate how much we still have to do. Perhaps most important, it introduced to a broad MIT audience the imperative for us to create a culture of inclusion.
And to do that through shared leadership, distributed leadership at every level throughout the Institute. Now, certainly, I can lead on this issue. And I will. Others certainly have led and are leading, but it's often the same brave faces that we see on this issue over and over.
This time, we're asking everyone to help shift this great stone of change. It's another lesson we can learn from the election of President Obama. When many, many people feel empowered and seize opportunities for progress, together they can create unprecedented change. And I can tell you that the roughly 320 Institute leaders who gathered at the Congress have taken up this charge.
Now, what does a culture of inclusion really mean? It means that a community succeeds in its diversity only when it looks beyond the numbers alone, and actively creates a culture where everyone feels valued, included, and at ease. An environment in which everyone can do their very best work.
And while we didn't arrange this before, Matt and Joy have addressed this same challenge. Let me be clear. A culture of inclusion is not something we want to pursue because it's warm or fuzzy or a feel good idea. We must create a culture of inclusion so that we can actively capitalize on our diverse skills and perspectives, so that we can better advance the fundamental mission of MIT.
Certainly, MIT is a place with unrelenting standards of excellence. We're all proud of that. We need to make it possible for everyone to contribute at the apex of their ability. And if something in the culture is getting in the way, we have to change it. Creating a culture of inclusion is simply not an optional exercise.
At a very practical level, the feedback we gathered at and after the Congress called out five general areas for our attention-- retention, recruitment, climate, communications, and accountability. While this morning doesn't offer the time to delve deeply into these five areas, I do want you to know that we're using the feedback from the Congress to advance important change.
Let me give you a couple of examples. First, in terms of retention and climate, we're following up on a number of concrete suggestions. We're going to be creating a best practices tool kit to help people understand how to be effective mentors. We're going to be promoting new affinity groups to build networks of support, and we'll foster regular highly visible opportunities for dialogue between people who don't share the same backgrounds or experiences.
Another example, we know we have a lot of work to do on communication. Believe it or not, MIT, I would say, does not get an A in communication yet. We're going to be promoting a clear, prominent vision of diversity at MIT and in building these themes into how MIT defines itself.
Following the Congress, we created a pretty basic website simply to present the proceedings to the community. We're now working on a richer site that will represent MIT's diversity and inclusion efforts comprehensively. It will highlight the many different inclusion efforts on campus, and there are a whole lot of them. Serve as a gateway to useful resources and let the world know that we're serious about diversity inclusion here at MIT.
Now, a number of you have already offered suggestions and recommendations and ideas about the website. I would say keep them coming. The website is a work in progress. And it does not yet approach the standards of an interactive portal that we aspire to.
Let me just talk a little bit about what I mean by shared or distributed leadership, and what it looks like. One highlight of the Congress was a dry observation by Dr. Shirley Malcolm of the AAAS. She said that all too often what's called a search process is merely a sort process, an exercise in sifting through known options. This may sound familiar to many of you.
So how do we break this all too familiar pattern? Here's what one of the participants wrote. "I require search committees to compile a presearch list of women, underrepresented minorities, and stars, who are good potential applicants even if they're not ready to apply this year. I ask them to invite these individuals to apply, or to visit a year or so in advance if they're not yet applying for faculty positions."
But here comes the implementation. "The next year I follow up and asked what happened to their previous list?" The truth is sometimes solutions can be as simple as that as long as people in positions of leadership carry them through. And there are signs that more leaders are taking this issue on as their own.
Some department heads have already reached out to Professor Wesley Harris, our Associate Provost for Faculty Equity, to discuss their concrete plans for making their departments national leaders in diversity and inclusion. Now, that distributed leadership.
To help individual leaders succeed across the Institute, we need to keep uncovering practical strategies. We need to get the word out across MIT, and we need to follow up. Another inspiring example of distributed leadership is the initiative on faculty, race, and diversity. Under the leadership of Professor Paula Hammond, seven full time faculty members are conducting an unprecedented qualitative and quantitative study of faculty diversity issues at MIT. They expect to share their findings with all of us next fall, and those findings will define our challenges and suggest ways to move forward.
Their shared leadership is inspiring and it's essential. The truth-- the truth is that in building a culture of inclusion, distributed leadership is our only path to success, because the real progress in mentoring and reaching out and locating new talent must happen step by step, unit by unit, in labs and offices and residence halls across all of MIT.
Now, obviously, the ideas I've described are just steps in a very long journey. The progress we seek will require broadly distributed leadership and sustained efforts, centralized and localized, big and small.
Let me address one issue that is particular to this moment. I've heard the serious concern, and the real concern, that our efforts to build a culture of inclusion could be imperiled by starkly shrinking budgets, which we do indeed face. But let me reassure you that budget pressures will not deflect us from this work.
At the same time, it's worth noting that many of the most important elements of a culture of inclusion, things like connection, conversation, kindness. These elements don't cost anything at all. It costs nothing to make sure that every new hire of whatever background is paired up with a long-term employee as a welcoming guide. It costs nothing for the Institute leaders to reach out proactively to student cultural and affinity groups. And likewise, it costs nothing for those groups occasionally to hold cross-cultural meetings together.
For every department head to check in regularly with all women and professors of color costs no more than an occasional cup of coffee. Surveying faculty members for the top 20 or 30 students in their lecture courses is bound to turn up women and students of color who might be the next [? Europe's ?] star. And it costs no more than an email.
It costs nothing to ask in an annual review what steps an individual has taken to build a culture of inclusion, or to educate your colleagues about the difference between a search and a sort. We cannot, and we will not, allow tight budgets to be an excuse for inertia and inaction.
Before I close, I want to be clear that all the developments I've discussed today are only the latest fruits of a process that's been growing here for many, many years I cannot possibly mention all the groups and individuals who deserve our gratitude for their passionate commitment and perseverance on these issues. But I do want to call out a few of the major current initiatives, including the Committee on Race and Diversity, which is led by Professor Phil Thompson.
And as I said at the outset, the Committee hosted a celebration of Dr. King. The Council on Staff Diversity led by Vice President of Human Resources Allison Alton, is doing very important work in the staff dimension. And Sandra Harris, with her inspired New Fame program. This program helps freshmen bond together multicultural groups beginning during pre-orientation.
I also want to acknowledge the very important leadership of our Associate Provost for Faculty Equity, Professors Barbara [? Liscough ?] and Wesley Harris. The MIT leaders of this caliber, extraordinary caliber, have taken on these roles on behalf of the Institute demonstrates how serious we are about accelerating change.
We're serious about it because as today's program says, yes, we must. Now, it is my extraordinary pleasure to introduce Dr. Johnetta B. Cole. Let me just give you a little bit of personal reflection on this morning.
Dr. Cole is one of those people for me who you watch in the distance and no matter how great the distance, she stands as a giant. You imagine would it be like to meet her face-to-face. Someone who has had such a huge impact and has loomed so large in your imagination and your vision. I can tell you to meet her in person is like a hurricane blowing through your mind.
Dr. Cole, welcome to MIT. Johnetta [INAUDIBLE] Cole was born to a prominent African-American family in Jacksonville, Florida in the then deeply segregated south of this country. Years before her birth, her great grandfather had founded the first insurance agency in the State of Florida, and it was assumed that she would carry on the prospering family insurance business.
But as a precocious student who went off to college at the age of 15, Johnetta Bench discovered herself as a scholar. And she had to break it to her family that she actually planned to study anthropology. Many of us in the room has had this experience of conveying to our family that we actually weren't going to go in the direction that they anticipated for us.
Beginning at Fisk College, she completed her undergraduate work at Oberlin and earned her PhD from Northwestern University. In the years since, Dr. Cole has become one of the most effective and beloved leaders in higher education, and a leading thinker and speaker on questions of equality and social justice. She currently holds emeritus status at Emory University, where she taught for many years, retiring as Presidential Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Women's Studies, and African-American Studies.
Dr. Cole is also President Emerita of both of the nation's two historically black colleges for women-- Bennett College for Women and Spelman College. She is the only individual to have held both of these presidencies. What's more, when she took on the presidency of Spelman College in 1987, she became the first African-American woman to serve in that role in Spelman's 107 year history.
From 2004 to 2006, Dr. Cole served as the Chair of the Board of the United Way of America. Again, the first person of color to lead that national organization. Today, she chairs the board of the Johnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute, founded at Bennett College for Women.
Let me give one final word. Dr. Cole was once asked about the experience of being first in so many of her endeavors. She replied, "In one way, it's very exhilarating. You can almost take yourself too seriously. Until you realize that something is probably wrong, being the first probably says, why has it taken so long?"
And I can tell you, it takes huge courage to be the first. I hope that in bringing diversity and inclusion to the top of MIT's agenda, and in bringing Dr. Cole to our campus, we're moving closer to the day when the firsts will be far behind us. While the great task of inventing the future lies ahead, it is my privilege to ask you to join me in giving Dr. Cole a very warm welcome to MIT.
COLE: Thank you. Sister president, Susan Hockfield. And I'm going to turn to find the brother Chancellor Phillip Clay. My sisters and brothers of the faculty and of the staff. And but of course, I would greet every single sister and brother of this student body. Without them, we wouldn't have any reason you know to be here.
I also want to acknowledge that there are sisters and brothers from the larger community who are here, including our sister who was acknowledged. Now, in case I've left anybody out, let me just say, sisters and brothers all, good morning. And if I can draw on one of the many religious traditions in this great country of ours, I would not only say good morning. I would say it's a great get up morning.
Now, you might ask why I would begin my talk by greeting each of you with that language. Sisters and brothers all, clearly, it comes from growing in the south-- growing up in the South. And in particular, in an African-American family that was deeply, deeply rooted in a black church. But it also comes from participating in the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement of the '60s.
You know, when young and not so young folk of a range of backgrounds and attributes put their lives on the line in the interest of justice, they were sisters and brothers. And being trained as an anthropologist, I remember one of the greatest lessons that I learned. And that is that kinship is ultimately really not about biology. It's about attitudes and behavior and shared vision.
If we are all here together on this particular occasion, I've got to assume that you are my sisters and my brothers. It is, of course, a very, very special occasion here at MIT, when once again, you stop and you pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. The loving man who courageously carried Gandhi's nonviolent philosophy through some of the most turbulent times America has ever known.
Nina Samoan called Dr. King the dark prince of peace. All over our country during the last few weeks and into this one, and perhaps a few more, people of every hue and background acknowledge that 80 years ago, Martin Luther King, Junior was born. And in his ever so brief stay on earth, he dared to imagine, believe in, and work for the fulfillment of a mighty, mighty, mighty dream. A dream of racial equality.
I believe that if Dr. King had lived beyond the 38 years that he gave to us, that he would have described and worked for an even larger dream. And we hear it hinted at when he talked about the beloved community.
It would be a dream that, of course, would include that day when no one would be judged by the color of their skin. But I think Dr. King would have increasingly articulated a dream of a day when we would cease to judge anyone based on their gender, based on their sexual orientation, their age, religion, class, nationality, physical, and mental abilities or disabilities.
Today, these years after Dr. King so brilliantly and movingly delivered what we have come to call his I Have a Dream speech, we are challenged to ask has that dream of racial equality been fulfilled? Let me put the question in the context of the incredibly significant event that has taken place in our nation. The folk that grew me in Jacksonville would use an expression. They wouldn't just say our nation. They would say ours own.
Namely, that on January the 20th the year 2009, Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan man and a Kansan white mom became the 44th President of the United States of America. Following that extraordinary moment in the history and her story of our nation and our world, the first family of America, a black family, moved into the White House. The very White House that slaves helped to build.
After Senator-- or then Senator Obama won the election, many of us could just not stop saying it. We would greet each other, and we would hug, and we would say, I never thought it would happen. What's the rest of it?
Oh, but my sisters and my brothers all, it has happened. Now, some have argued that the election of Barack Obama as the President of the United States signals that America is now a post racial society. Folk who grew me at this point would say well, his election certainly does say to us that in our land, race is no longer a barrier to the highest office in America.
But in my view, it does not mean that racism has ceased to exist. It is simply possible for white folk to accept a black leader in the highest office in the land and still support institutionalized racism. And as you know, when institutionalized racism goes into cahoots with poverty, the results are devastating for our nation's people of color. It is that double jeopardy, that double whammy of racism and poverty that leads to Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, suffering disproportionately from a range of diseases.
It leads to these communities experiencing twice as much unemployment as white Americans. It is behind the association of people of color with substandard housing. And it is this double jeopardy of racism and poverty that propels such high dropout rates for black and Latino students. And that sends more of our young black and brown men to prison than to colleges and universities.
Individual acts of racism also persist in our nation. The election of President Obama, with all of the joy that we felt, it also ignited a number of outbursts of bigotry. Jesse Washington, an Associated Press journalist wrote these words just a few days after the November 4 election.
"Cross burnings, school children chanting assassinate Obama. Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars. Such incidents around our country, referring to President-elect Barack Obama, before he became president, began to dampen the post election glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America."
And yet, my sisters and my brothers all, despite such incidents, as the brother said he was searching for a week, now, we can declare it. Change has come. And yet we are still such a mighty, mighty long way away from being able to declare victory over bigotry and discrimination.
The great African-American scholar and activist, Dr. W. E.B. Du Bois once said that the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line. Well, here we are in the 21st century. We have yet to eradicate the problem of the color line, and there's so many more lines, that we human beings have constructed to divide us.
Lines based, as you know, on gender, and class, and religion, and nationality. On sexual orientation, on age, on physical and mental abilities. Because various forms of bigotry and discrimination are so widespread and so tenacious, many are led to say and to believe that it is just human nature to dislike people who are different from who you are, to create systems of inequality based on those differences.
I could sure call on anthropology, but why don't I just call on common sense to say no. Big-- gesundheit. Bigotry is not just human nature-- excuse me-- and you know what? It ain't-- I need my water, please.
And you know what? Bigotry it ain't genetic. It's learned. And if it is learned, guess what? It can be unlearned. And even more thrilling, we could just stop teaching it.
Now, I'm not naive to think that we can rid the world of bigotry by declaring a moratorium on teaching it. But it would help. And how well I know that bigotry and discrimination are about power and about privilege. It's not easy for folk who have power and privilege to decide to give it up.
You remember what Frederick Douglass said, "Power concedes nothing without a struggle. It never did, and it never will." We have to offer to those who have it a more rewarding alternative. Martin Luther King, Junior's alternative. "We need to imagine and work toward making a world-- making a world where a difference doesn't make any more difference. We need to envision and then create communities where everyone is respected and invited to the table, so that their voices can be heard. So that their experiences can help to propel the work that needs to be done."
And if there isn't enough room at the table, guess what? We got to learn how to build bigger tables. Here in our nation, power and privilege based on race and gender stand out. And so as an African-American woman, I know what it is like not to have white skin privilege. I know what it is like not to have male privilege. But it is ever so important that I acknowledge and deal with the reality that there is some power and some privilege that I do have.
I clearly have power and privilege as someone who is of the upper middle class. I have power and privilege as someone who is a heterosexual, a Christian and physically abled-- although the last one of my friends-- one of my friends who does so much work in the communities that are differently abled, she says, "Being physically able, just wait. For all of us, it's ultimately a temporary condition."
This reality that each of us has some form of power and privilege flows from the fact that each of us has multiple identities. And it's ever so important for us to be aware of those identities and to guard against efforts to characterize us in singular terms. Sister President Susan, refer to the enormous excitement when we had an African-American man and a white American woman as candidates for the presidency.
But it was also a moment of enormous tension for some of us. As we were being lobbied with the words that if you are a woman, you have no choice. Hillary Rodham Clinton is your candidate. If you are an African-American, you have no choice. Barack Obama is your candidate.
For those of us who are twofers, what were we to do? The answer, I think, is that we were first to own our multiple identities. And then we were to make a decision based on more than a candidate's race or gender. I want to share one other reality about this stuff that we call bigotry and discrimination.
It is this that, unfortunately, being the victim of one form of bigotry or discrimination does not a new one from victimizing others. For example, excuse me, some white women who have been the victims of sexism can systematically practice racism. Some black folk who have known the bitter sting of racism can be intensely homophobic and practice hetero sexism.
Some people who are Jewish and have been the victims of anti-Semitism can harbor feelings and, in fact, carry out actions that stem from Islamophobia. So my sisters and brothers all of this prestigious university, based on the points that I have tried to make about the ongoing challenges to what is simply a reality, human diversity. Challenges that are expressed as bigotry and as discrimination. What might I ask of you? Ask of you who are now already leaders or poised to be leaders.
I hope it doesn't sound arrogant for me to say that I think what I am about to ask of you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, were he here, would also ask of you. And I am convinced that if the brother President Barack Hussein Obama were here, that he would ask this of you no less. What I'm about to ask, please know that I ask also of myself first.
Learn how you learned your prejudices. That is, interrogate yourself about your particular journey around questions of diversity and inclusion. There were so many moments when our brother Matt and our sister Joy made those stunning presentations that I was simply moved. But notice that in each of those presentations they had interrogated themselves about the journey that they're on. They had asked of themselves how they had learned in each case to be soldiers in opposition to bigotry and discrimination.
And for those of you who are parents, or thinking about becoming parents, I ask this quite simply of you. Teach your children well. But refuse to teach them bigotry. I also ask that you get in touch with your multiple identities. And once you do so, you must never, ever, ever again let anyone into an act with you on the basis of one alone.
I had the great privilege and joy of teaching at Hunter College at a moment when one of my she-roes, Audre Lorde, was there. Yeah, one of my she-roes because for every hero in the world, there's at least one she-roe. Audre Lorde, who many of you will know, became the Poet Laureate of the State of New York, but was clearly then as she is now, among the most recognized black feminist lesbian writers.
When Audre Lorde would stand up to speak, she would inevitably begin by saying I am Audre Lorde, a black woman, feminist, lesbian, mother, poet, warrior. And I remember that she would sometimes say, don't you dare deny me any of the parts of who I am. I don't wake up in the morning and decide from 7:00 to 8:00 I'll be black and get on with it, because by 8:00 I've got to become a woman and I've got until 9:00 o'clock before I turn into a lesbian.
I also urge you to honestly examine your own power and privilege. For if you are to avoid using your power and privilege in ways that exploit and oppress others, then you've got to be in touch with what power and privilege you have. And finally in terms of what I ask of each of you, asking this of you to encourage exercising leadership to create and sustain greater diversity and inclusion at MIT.
Let me say this on that. While very impressive steps have been taken here at MIT under the transformative leadership of our sister President Hockfield, and while there is ongoing work of the MIT Diversity Leadership Congress, I came all the way from Atlanta, Georgia to tell you that that is not enough. That each of you must take personal responsibility for helping to change this mighty institution.
That means in concrete terms, some of the actions that sister President Susan shared this morning. And so I'm going to be repetitive for a little bit. But remember, when it comes to education and action, repetition is good for the soul. And so I say first that you've got to make sure that the curriculum at MIT has moved away from the three W's. You know about the three W's? That's a curriculum that is far too Western, too white, and too woman-less.
That means if you are to indeed transform this mighty institution into a still mightier one, that every department must refuse to move forward with a faculty or a staff search if there isn't a diverse pool of candidates. Ooh, to what sister Shirley Malcolm said about searching vs. sorting, let us say amen and a women, too.
To bring about greater diversity and inclusion at MIT, it means not only recruiting a diverse class of students each and every year, it really must mean creating an inclusive culture so that students of color, students of the LGBT community, students who are differently abled, students of all underrepresented groups, can proudly say, this is my university, or better put, Institute.
It's time now for me to bring some closure, but I'm going to do it in the tradition of great black preachers who tell you they are going to begin to conclude. And it takes a while to get there. I want to do so by telling you a story. And I, again, turn to sister Joy and to brother Matt to say that in addition to all of your brilliance and your humanity, you have discovered the power of storytelling.
The story that I'm going to tell is not my own. It was a favorite of another of my she-roes. Her name was-- I need to say ma'am first out of respect-- Fannie Lou [? Hamer. ?] And you will remember her perhaps best for the line that she used she said, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. But unlike many of us who say that and then just proceed to do nothing about it, this daughter of sharecroppers, this woman of the Mississippi Delta, went on to do something about being sick and tired of racism and injustice.
And as you know, she led a many a black sister and brother up those steps of a statehouse to register to vote. And for that act of courage and being an American, the water hose would push her to the ground, the billy clubs would come across her head, and jail became a place she knew well.
Fannie Lou [? Hamer ?] loved to tell this story at the end of her talk, because she said it would answer the question, who is to do the work? Who is responsible? If we can phrase it in terms of your theme of this gathering, who are the leaders? Who are the leaders that have the responsibility to bring greater diversity and inclusion to MIT?
The last line of the story will answer the question. It's a wonderful story. It's about some young boys who one day decided to play hooky from school. Well, there was no point in playing hooky from school unless they could get into some trouble, thought they. And they proceeded to do so. The ringleader caught a bird and they just figured out-- they thought very ingenious ways of torturing that poor bird to within an inch of its life.
But then they grow-- they grew bored with that. The ringleader said, I got an idea. I'll tell you what we're going to do. We're going to go up the road apiece, and we're going to ask that old lady up there a question she will be incapable of answering. What was the question, said one of his buddies. Said, you remember that bird we just finished messing with? I'm going to take that bird and I'm going to put it behind my back.
And then I'm going to say, old lady, old lady, this bird that I have behind my back, is it dead or is it alive? Now, if the old lady says, why the bird is dead, I'm going to release my hands, it'll fly away. She'll be wrong. But if to my question, Oh, lady, is the bird dead or alive? If she says, why the bird is alive. I'm going to crush it. And she will be wrong.
So they did their high fives and away they went to find the old lady. When they did, the ringleader with that disrespectful tone that characterizes far from all but some of our youngins. The ringleader said, oh, lady, oh, lady, you going to answer my question? And with that humility and decency and compassion that characterizes so many of our elders, the old lady said, why-- why, yes, my son, I will try.
He said, well, all right, old lady. Remember now, what the old lady says is the answer to the question, who is responsible for bringing greater diversity and inclusion to this great Institute? All right. Old lady, the ringleader said, see this bird? I'm going to put it behind my back. Now, you tell me, is the bird dead or is it alive? And she thought and thought and thought. And then this is what the old lady said, she said, hmm, hmm, the bird. Why-- why it's in your hands. That's the answer.
It's not sister President Susan. It's not brother Chancellor Phil. It's not any committee including the Diversity Congress leaders. Changing this Massachusetts Institute of Technology to be an incredibly welcoming place to the good Lord, to her many people, you know what? That work is in your hands. And in some other place, and always, I know, it's also in mine. Thank you very much.
PRESENTER: Please join me in thanking Dr. Johnetta Cole for her heartfelt words.
Please join me in welcoming Provost Rafael Wraith, who will join-- who will now recognize the 200i-2009 Martin Luther King, Junior visiting professors and visiting scholars. Provost Wraith.
WRAITH: What an incredible, humbling experience it is to stand on this podium after this remarkable presentation of Dr. Cole-- or I should say, Sister Dr. Cole. I want to thank you for this.
COLE: Thank you, bro.
WRAITH: Thank you for this moving and very inspiring speech. The MLK visiting professor and scholars' program honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior by inviting and recognizing the contributions of outstanding scholars and scientists, and asking them to spend some time at MIT to reach our campus.
This program, as all of you know, is being run out of the office of Associate Provost Wesley Harris. So I'm going to be identifying the MLK scholars of this year and then we'll be asking them to please stand up. I think most of you are here. And I'll try as best I can to embarrass you while you're standing up.
Dr. Delores Acevedo Garcia. Is she here? Let me read what she is here doing and where she come from. She's right now a visiting associate professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. She's an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. She received her PhD in public affairs and her masters in public affairs in urban and regional planning, both from Princeton.
She received Dr. Roosevelt Garcia her BA in public administration at the Center of International Studies in [INAUDIBLE] Mexico, Mexico City. Her research interests include the effect of social determinants such as residential segregation and immigrant integration on health disparities, especially among racial and ethnic lines. And the role of non health policies such as housing policies, immigrant policies, in reducing those disparities.
Professor Leonard Daniel, please stand up. Professor Daniel is a visiting assistant professor in our Department of [INAUDIBLE]. He received his bachelor's and master's degree in sciences with highest honors in mechanical engineering from the Soviet Academy of Science in Moscow. And a PhD degree from the University of London, Queen Mary, an Imperial College.
After working as a senior research scientist at UK Defense Evaluation Research Agency, and at the European Space Agency, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of New Orleans, where he is currently a research professor. He's also a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He teaches and conducts research in the area's aerospace composites, structural dynamics, nanomaterials, [INAUDIBLE], and intelligence structures, with applications to morphing aircraft, intelligence and manned area vehicles, and intelligent vehicle and highway systems. For Daniel, thank you for being with us.
Professor Thomas [? Clave. ?]
You have to stand up and suffer. Professor Glade is a visiting professor in a program on writing and humanities-- humanistic studies. His home institution is the State University of New York in Binghamton. He received his MFA in creative writing from Brown University. And his BA with a major in English and a minor in Latin American studies from Baldwin College. Professor Glade traveled as a Fulbright scholar to Jamaica, where he studied Jamaican historiography and Caribbean intellectual and literary traditions.
While in Jamaica, professor Glade worked on issues of social justice and helped found the Jamaica forum for lesbians, all sexuals, and gays. A passionate writer and political activist, professor Glade has taught at the University of Virginia, Cleveland State, Brown, Indiana and [INAUDIBLE] Universities, and is presently an assistant professor of English, General Literature and Rhetoric at Sunny Binghamton.
He has received numerous fellowships and awards and I'm going to just mention one. He was named a writer on the verge by the Village Voice in 2000. Professor Glade, thank you.
Professor Dale [INAUDIBLE].
Professor [INAUDIBLE] is with us, a visiting assistant professor in the media arts and sciences program. After his electrical engineering PhD from Michigan State University, he developed speech processing and sensor network algorithms at Lockheed Martin. Later, as a faculty member at Tulane University, Professor [INAUDIBLE] turn this signal processing algorithms toward the monitoring of wildlife.
At MIT's Media Lab, he has taught the class of technology for observing natural environments, and held seminars on bounding ellipsoidal optimization theory. Professor [INAUDIBLE] aspires to tackle public health problems, such as malaria, through sensor-based monitoring of responsible vectors where they are most needed. Thank you.
Dr. Carl Paris. Is Dr. Paris here?
Dr. Paris is a visiting scholar in our women's and gender studies. He holds an MA in dance theory and dance in higher education from NYU and New York University. And a PhD in dance studies and cultural theory from Temple University. He has taught technique and dance-related courses in Spain at the theater institutes of Madrid, Barcelona, [INAUDIBLE] and at CalArts. He has served on the faculty at NYU and Long Island University, and more recently, as adjunct professor in African-American history and race and ethnicity at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
Dr. Paris has performed among-- with many of the prominent dance companies of today. Among them are [INAUDIBLE] African dance, Martha Graham, and Alvin Ailey. At MIT, Dr. Paris will teach a class in the traditions of American dance, gender, and autobiography. In addition, he will work toward expanding his research into a book that will include a philosophical intersection between selected issues in black dance and the wider contemporary cultural studies context. Dr. Paris, thank you very much.
And one more, Dr. [? Latanya ?] [? Sweeney. ?]
Dr. Sweeney is a visiting professor in our EECS Department, Electrical Engineering Computer Science. She is an associate professor of computer science, technology, and policy in the School of Computer Science at CMU, Carnegie Mellon University. She also founded and serves as a director of the data privacy lab, which works with real world stakeholders to solve today's privacy technology problems. Her work involves creating technologies and related policies with provable guarantees of privacy protection, while allowing society to collect and share person specific information for many worthy purposes.
She received her PhD in computer science from MIT.
The next one may not get that much applause. Her undergraduate degree in computer science was from Harvard University. She has received many awards from many numerous organizations. Dr. Sweeney, thank you very much for being with us.
Before I conclude, I would like to recognize a very special visitor we have today at MIT. This is Dr. Victor [? McCreary. ?] Vic, do you mind standing up? I know you're surprised. Victor came to visit us yesterday, I believe, and he is making time to be with us this morning. Victor is the President of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. And that is his night job.
Victor is the business area executive for science and technology for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics laboratory. And he is the assistant department head of the Milton Eisenhower Research Center. He got his doctoral degree from Holly University in physical chemistry, and had a long and outstanding career and has received numerous awards and honors. And we're delighted that he's here with us today and helping us to carry forward the legacy of Martin Luther King.
Let me just ask you to please join me to thank and congratulate all those extremely successful scholars who are choosing to spend some time with us. Thanks, again.
PRESENTER: We will now continue with some announcements relevant to our celebration. Throughout this week, those of you on campus may have had the pleasure of seeing the installation located in Lobby 10, designed and constructed by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. IAP Seminar.
The installation is part of a seminar called The Martin Luther King Junior IAP Design Seminar, which is offered each year during January to facilitate the design and construction of an installation placed in Lobby 10, and special projects organized in conjunction with MIT's annual celebration of Dr. King.
Students in the class, reading materials, and watch videos about Dr. King and other important civil and human rights leaders in the US and beyond. The theme for this year's installation is Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere. We invite you to read the insert included with your program to learn more about the numerous activities implemented by this year's class.
MIT is proud to announce that Lisa Owens is this year's recipient of the 2009 YMCA of Greater Boston Black Achievers Award. Lisa has been recognized as a minority staff employee who exemplifies MIT standard of excellence. Lisa is a chief radiological technologist at MIT Medical. Lisa?
MIT will host MC^2, also known as Multicultural Conference on March 7th. The Multicultural Conference works to bring students together across race, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and other aspects of cultural identity. The one day conference is open to all students with an interest in issues of diversity and inclusion at MIT and beyond.
The organizers are black outcrop-- a blackout on Prop 8, invites the audience to join them tonight at 6:00 PM in W 20407 for a blackout on Prop 8. A discussion on the media scapegoating of the African-American community following the passing of Prop 8 in California.
The discussion will focus on correcting our assumptions addressing LGBT and racial tensions, and what we can do at MIT to push for LGBT rights. Now, please welcome back, Hiram Etienne and the pianist from the MIT gospel choir to lead us in singing the Negro National anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, by James Weldon Johnson. We ask that you join in and sing. The lyrics are located on the back of your program. Please stand.
ETIENNE: Had such a great time today, actually, I'd just like to say that. This was an awesome ceremony.
Sing it with me.
Lift every voice and sing till earth and heaven ring. Ring with the harmonies of Liberty. Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies, let it resound loud as the roaring 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 our new day begun, let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod, felt in the day when hope unborn had died, yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet, come to the place for 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 from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far on the way, thou who hast by thy might, led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee, shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand, true to our God, true to our native land. Thank you.
MALE SPEAKER: Now, by the grace of God, brothers and sisters go forth into the world shaped by a dream, motivated by an imperative that we must and empowered by courage to live of lives worthy of those on whose shoulders we stand. Let the congregation say amen. Try it again. Amen.