On Monday, January 21, 2019, the RIT community gathered to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, by celebrating his legacy at the second annual Let Freedom Ring event held in Ingle Auditorium.
Despite the threatening winds during our first winter storm, guests were welcomed with the musical sounds of the RIT String Quartet.
President Munson enthusiastically welcomed all who “joined us to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honor his life and civil rights legacy that impacts all of us,” he emphasized. “He was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King's honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983 and it was first observed three years later.”
It was exciting to have Dr. Howard Ward, associate vice president for Auxiliary Services at RIT as the Master of Ceremonies. Dr. Ward shared how he felt “proud of the legacy King has left us. With his wisdom and inspiration, we will always have an opportunity to learn and inspire freedom in others and within ourselves.”
It was truly impressive to have RIT Tiger and advocacy trailblazer, Greg Pollock 12’, as the prime keynote speaker. Pollock shared his living testimonial about how to love your enemies, even when tragedy strikes close to your core and your home. His story focused on loving our enemies despite the hurt or pain we feel in our hearts, thus building a society of equality and equity as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed about and believed in without any doubts or hesitation.
The Let Freedom Ring committee, led by co-chairs Dr. Ward and Stephanie Paredes, assistant director, multicultural programs at the Multicultural Center for Academic Success, “were challenged, to create an event that would inspire the RIT Community during difficult times. After much discussion, the committee agreed to tackle one of King’s many messages, by selecting Strength to Love, written by Dr. King Jr. and originally published in 1963.
Dr. King has been attributed to saying, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
The Division of Diversity and Inclusion & Division of Finance and Administration would like to express our deepest gratitude to our friends and partners for their unconditional support, dedication, and commitments, as follows; Access Services (i.e. Denise Herrera, Jennifer Jess, Darin Ladson, and Cheryl Bovard), Behind the Bricks, Facility Management Services, RIT Catering, Thomas Warfield and his dancers from NTID/RIT, Tech Crew, RIT String Quartet and the Let Freedom Ring Committee.
Also if you missed it, please take a moment to view the video created for this event in collaboration with RIT's Behind the Bricks and RIT student Nate Butler featuring faculty, staff and students reading a portion of Dr King's Sermon "Loving Your Enemies". WATCH VIDEO HERE!