Earlier this week, President Joe Biden signed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. While we welcome this as progress, we must be vigilant in the work we have ahead in achieving racial equality and equity both nationally and here on campus.
As we commemorate this day, we must remember that a year ago, our beloved Black Alumni authored a petition demanding the University to take substantive steps in addressing racism and building a more inclusive community. To date, those concerns have largely been unaddressed.
As we look ahead, today, a coalition of students call upon President Jenkins and Provost Miranda to establish a full day’s observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. MLK Day is a remarkable opportunity to not only celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, but a day which the University can dedicate to eradicating the sin of racism.
In light of Juneteenth, we as Student Government, knowing that each person is made in the image of God, will continue to foster an environment where the inherent dignity and worth of individuals is both respected and valued. Catholic Social Teaching encourages that we each give a preferential option to the vulnerable. We must hold ourselves to this standard on campus and wherever we go from there. Beyond that, we commit to pursue social change and justice with and on behalf of the vulnerable, marginalized, and oppressed.
We invite you to read the letter the MLK Coalition wrote to the President and Provost and sign onto the letter here below. Honoring Dr. King's legacy is only the first step in our pursuit of justice, but it will allow for greater conversation on justice and progress here at Notre Dame. Fr. Hesburgh once prayed, "May there be here a hunger for justice.” We reiterate that prayer today.