(Photos: Emily Schneider)
On September 5, students and faculty of Regis gathered on the steps of the Dayton Memorial Library for a recitation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “Where Do We Go From Here?” As concerns for civil rights sweep the nation as well as our campus, Regis continues to invite discussions about where we go from here.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to this question when the 1960’s were coming to a close and his words are preserved through time.During the first weeks of school, this question has rung loud as the motto of the class of 2021. A multitude of powerful ideas were expressed in response to this question at the steps of the library.
“All of society needs to make serious choices about how we live together,” according to Allison Peters, which is why this speech is important again now. Martin Luther King Jr. was addressing some of the same issues in 1967 and we continue to have an obligation to change the social landscape. Peters reflected her hope for the future and was encouraged by the turnout of staff and students at the public reading.
Kevin Burke, Vice President of the Mission, recounted his experience on the day of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination. Burke was 15 years old, in his first year of high school. As he sat with the first four African American students to attend a Jesuit high school, it struck him that loss of Dr. King was a loss to our family: the family of humans. King wrote, “What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic.” Burke encouraged everyone to exercise our personal power. “We can no longer sit back,” he said as he urged us to, “Own our moment.”
Student Body President John Casillas closed the discussion with acknowledgments to the importance of these events at Regis. Regis can expect to see more conversations regarding the social/political climate, as it is an ongoing discussion.
Dr. Jason Taylor reflected on the value of this reading and reflected his hope that we can affirm dignity in others, thus enhancing their personal power. He further emphasized that the reluctance people have to espouse violence toward dignity has created immense tension. “The speech reveals something that was as true then as it is today, that racial progress in the United States is calibrated to white comfort and that we will make no genuine progress until people move away from that,” Taylor commented.
In his closing, Father Fitzgibbons shared that now and again, we all need to be reborn. Society needs constant renewal and this is as poignant now as it ever has been. May we continue to see unity and compassion this year at Regis as we navigate uncertain political waters.