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Keynote: MLK Jr. Day Event
January 23 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
This presentation – free and open to the public – is sponsored by the Lake Campus Diversity Initiatives Committee and a grant from the Western Ohio Educational Foundation (WOEF).
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a nation where everyone viewed everyone else in terms of their individual merit was a utopian dream given human nature. His exhortation—like that of many great speakers and sermonizers—was aimed not at society as a whole but at the individual hearer, whose power to affect change was limited primarily to his own actions. The “nation” King referred to, in the most practical sense, was not some far-off neverland but a state of being that was immediately attainable on the individual level. In this context, his message was clear: each person listening to his words could create a tiny version of his nation simply by putting the stated principle into action. Combined, these individual changes could create societal change, but it had to start with the individual.
To put it in simpler terms, King clearly eschewed, in word and deed, the focus on a common enemy and appealed instead to a focus on our common humanity. This is what we must do today. And in order to be both meaningful and truly uniting, this conception of our common humanity must be based on the views and values of all Americans, not just white ones. In other words, we need a project of redefining our common humanity in a way that transcends racial division and creates a powerful new sense of national or human identity capable of transcending and overcoming the old, race-based identities. Today is my day, your day, our day to rid ourselves of the old and pick up anew and forge an America that puts love as its national ethic.
About the presenter:
Dr. Julius Bailey teaches philosophy and African American Studies at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He is a philosopher, cultural critic, social theorist and diversity lecturer. Dr. Bailey has been a guest on numerous media outlets and is often sought to speak at colleges, prisons, churches and community organizations across America. He has authored four books, including the award-winning Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams: The Age of Obama and Beyond and edited two others, notably the widely circulated The Cultural Impact of Kanye West. His current book will be released February 2020, Racism, Hypocrisy and Bad Faith: A Moral Challenge to the America I Love (Broadview Press). He is currently Director of Pre-Law and Justice, Law and Public Policy at Wittenberg. He can be contacted at www.juliusbailey.com.