Featured (List) Featured (Slider) News

University Welcomes Dr. Bernice King

Dr. Bernice King, CEO of the King Center, visited Monmouth’s campus as this fall’s distinguished speaker in collaboration with the Social Justice Academy’s Combating Racial Injustice Through Education professional development series on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

The Social Justice Academy and Intercultural Center co-hosted King to facilitate meaningful discussion with campus community members around the concept of “Building the Beloved Community.”

King’s visit comes nearly 56 years to the exact date of when her father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., delivered his speech to the Monmouth community. During the late King’s time, Monmouth was previously an all-boys, white-only college.

Fast forward over 50 years, the audience appeared more racially diverse, in part due to King’s activism efforts for equality during the 50’s and 60’s.

King began, “A lot has changed since the period in which my father lived; while prejudice and discrimination may still exist now, they are not as prevalent as they were in the past.”

King opened the flood gates to questions and comments from audience members. In addition to University students, staff, and alumni, many local Monmouth residents also took advantage of the opportunity to discuss racial equity with King.

For example, an anonymous Monmouth faculty member prompted a discussion about King’s intentions for visiting the campus. “I have a particular interest in individuals who come from homes where one parent has a legacy. It causes people to wonder what sets that individual apart from the legacy of their parents,” said the speaker.

As the presentation continued, those in attendance noted what made King’s visit so special.

A Monmouth alum and teacher at a nearby high school asked King for guidance on how the Hispanic community should come together and support her message.

King responded, “The Hispanic community, along with other communities, should not stand as mere ‘allies’ as brothers and sisters when it comes to other groups’ battles. Family will fight for you much more fiercely than someone who felt like they just had to.”

Morgan Alston, Vice President of the Black Student Union club, said, “Before this event, I had never attended a program where an activist was invited to speak on campus, making this one that much more remarkable…This really stuck with me. It’s also one of the first times I had a speaker that represented me, as a black woman.”

Rosaly Rivera, Human Resources Generalist for the Department of Human Resources, expressed her admiration for the speaker. “The presentation was special…It was nice that we were able to get her [King] to come to campus to talk and be available for questions.”

According to Barbara Santos, Human Resources Assistant for the Department of Human Resources, “It was amazing that someone with such a legacy could visit our campus. Dr. Bernice King’s visit was a full circle moment, especially in light of the fact that her father visited years prior…It was nothing short of a powerful moment.”

As the program moved along, some students had to depart early because of class times.A Monmouth student who chooses to remain anonymous said, “I believe that classes going on during this event should have been canceled for the day, especially since students leaving mid-presentation became a distraction.”

Naomi Louis, a psychology student, commented, “I felt like I couldn’t attend the event because of how important every lecture is…I think a lot more people could’ve been present if the 4:30-5:50 pm class time period was canceled for the day.”