Johnnetta B. Cole at MIT – 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration 2009

Johnnetta B. Cole at MIT – 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration 2009


DORIAN DARGAN: Good morning. Yeah, we’re ready. I’m going to– I’m going to try
to get everybody’s attention. Good morning. Good morning, everyone. Good morning. Yeah. I hope you’re all awake. Hi, I’m Dorian Dargan, and
this is MIT Gospel Choir, and we’re going to have a
few selections for you guys this morning. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks. [APPLAUSE] [PIANO PLAYING] Imagine me loving what I
see when the mirror looks at me cause I I imagine me. In a place of no insecurities
and I’m finally happy cause I imagine me. Letting go of all
of the ones who hurt me cause they never did
deserve me can you imagine me? Saying no to thoughts that try
to control me remembering all he told me. Lord, can you imagine me? Over what my momma said and
healed from what my daddy did and I want to live and
not read that page again. Imagine me, being free,
trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me. I admit it was hard to see
you being in love with someone like me but finally
I can imagine me. Being strong and not letting
people break me down. You won’t get that
joy this time around. Can you imagine me. In a world, in a world, where
nobody has to live afraid? Because of your love,
fear’s gone away. Can you imagine me? Letting go of my past and
glad I have another chance and my heart will
dance cause I don’t have to read that page again. Imagine me, being free,
trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me. I admit it was hard
to see you being in love with someone like me. But finally I can imagine me. [APPLAUSE] [PIANO PLAYING] Melodies from heaven, Rain
down on me, Rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain
down on me, rain down on me. Take me in your arms and hold
me close, rain down on me, rain down on me. Fill me with your precious
holy ghost, rain down on me, rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain
down on me, rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain
down on me, rain down on me. Take me in your arms and hold
me close, rain down on me, rain down on me. Fill me with your precious
holy ghost, rain down on me, rain down on me. Rain, rain, rain, rain,
rain, rain down on me. [INTERPOSING SINGING] Melodies from heaven,
Yeah, rain down on me, rain down, rain down on me. Say, melodies from heaven, rain
down on me, rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain
down on me, rain down on me. Melodies from heaven, rain
down on me, rain down on me, rain down on me, rain down
on me, rain down on me, rain down on me. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. PRESENTER: Good morning. My name is [INAUDIBLE],,
and I am a senior in the Sloan School
of Management and the School of Urban
Studies and Planning. I will be your Mistress
of Ceremonies for today’s breakfast celebration. Please join me in thanking
the MIT gospel choir. [APPLAUSE] In the spirit of our celebration
of the life and legacy of Dr. King, we would like you to
greet, meet, or shake hands with someone near you at
your table, across from you, or behind you. [SIDE CONVERSATION] PRESENTER: Welcome to the
35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior Celebration. I would like to take this
moment to thank President Susan Hockfield and her
husband, Dr. Thomas Byrne, for hosting this event. I would also like to
welcome Dr. [? Genetico. ?] It is a pleasure to have
you here this morning. Furthermore, I
would like to thank all the members of the Martin
Luther King, Junior Celebration subcommittee of the presidential
committee on race and diversity to whom we owe this
wonderful morning. When I call your
names, please stand up. Professor Don [? Demonsho, ?]
Assistant Director of the Global Education and
Career Development Center, Deborah [? Liberman, ?]
Co-director of Office of Government and
Community Relations, Paul [? PowerBano, ?]
Administrative Assistant for the Spectroscopy
Laboratory, Xena Queen– Undergraduate Administrator
of Political Science, Toby [? Weiner, ?] Reverend John
[? Westneck ?] of the MIT Board of Chaplains– Assistant Dean for Graduate
Education, Christopher Jones– Chancellor Phillip L. Clay,
Ex-officio, and Committee Chair Professor J. Phillip Thompson. Thank you all for contributing
to the success of this event. The theme for this
year’s breakfast is, Yes, We Must Achieve
Diversity Through Leadership. Throughout the election
year, we heard, yes, we can. And now that we did what
was necessary to move the country forward, we can
turn our attention to MIT. We, the MIT community,
must do what is necessary to continue
achieving diversity through leadership to
the nation and beyond. This morning’s program will
begin with an invocation from Reverend John Westneck. Following the
invocation, we will have breakfast,
during which we will have a musical selection from
the MLK Junior IAP Design Seminar Group. Now, let us begin the
breakfast with the invocation by Reverend John Westneck,
a member of the MIT Board of Chaplains. PRESENTER: Bless to us, O God,
our celebration this morning. Recognizing the clear challenge
of Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision for all. Bless to us, O God, new
faces in high places. Our challenge and
progress, for sure. Bless to us, O God, our mandate
to have for all what many don’t. Our work to do
what others won’t. Bless to us, O
God, our leadership and many differences,
the opportunity we must. We lift before you
this morning our table which graces us with food, those
who prepared it, and bring it in clean. Our song, our talk, our
laughter, our eating, our thought and deed, all
we lift to you, O God. Amen. PRESENTER: Ladies
and gentlemen, I hope you’ve enjoyed
your breakfast. We will now continue with
the rest of our program. Please welcome the MLK
IAP Design Seminar Group, who will be performing an
original song entitled, Where do we go from here? [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING] CHOIR MEMBER: That’s not ours. [LAUGHTER] So apparently you
don’t have our music, so we’re going to try
singing it acapella. All right. OK. One, two, three. Years ago, skies were gray. We’re still looking
for a brighter day. MLK said it best. He had a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further
do we have to go? Can you tell me where
do we go from here? I remember when the
South had slaves, and there was no
peace among races. Lots of families through
the auction trade. You could see the
stares on their faces. Emancipation
[INAUDIBLE] You don’t need chains to [INAUDIBLE]. No more shackles, but in our
minds we’re still enslaved. Opportunity seems so hopeless. Years ago, skies were gray. We’re still looking
for a brighter day. MLK said it best. He had a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further
do we have to go? Can you tell me where
do we go from here? I remember when
Dr. King was shot. Add it to the list of
lynching and beatings. Social equality
seemed so far off. Well, now, the government
had white faces. Reaganomics war on
drugs and Rodney King, high unemployment, low health. Where we are right now
just isn’t good enough. It’s going to be
better somewhere else. Years ago, skies were gray. We’re still looking
for a brighter day. MLK said it best, he had
a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further
do we have to go? Can you tell me where
do we go from here? Earthquakes, famine,
and disease, poverty, and poor education. You would think in this
time of technology, prejudice wouldn’t
still plague our nation. President Obama, what
are you doing for us? We’re ready for changes. We have made great leaps,
but we still have far to go. But we believe it’s
a brand new day. Years ago, skies were gray. We’re still looking
for a brighter day. MLK said it best. He had a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further
do we have to go? Can you tell me where
do we go from here? Years ago, skies were gray. We’re still looking
for a brighter day. MLK said it best. He had a dream about justice. That was many years ago. How much further
do we have to go? Can you tell me where
do we go from here? [APPLAUSE] PRESENTER: Thank you very much. Now, I have the
pleasure of introducing two of our very own students– Matt Gathers, a senior in
biological engineering, and Joy Johnson,
a graduate student in electrical engineering
and computer science. They will guide us in a
reflection of the life and legacy of Dr. King. We will hear first
from Matt Gathers. Matt? [APPLAUSE] GATHERS: Good morning, everyone. MIT did something very brave
and very dangerous this morning. They gave me my breakfast before
I gave the remarks that I was supposed to give this morning. I should be halfway back
to bed right now just to teach you all a lesson. Good morning, again. My name is Matt Gathers. I’m a senior in
biological engineering and I’m honored to share
some remarks on the role of diversity in our society. I’d like to begin with a story. The story takes
place in the 1940s, begins in South Carolina, and
it starts when a young man– young black man named Leroy
picks up his brother, Rock, as he’s discharged
from the Navy. On the way home,
Lee and Rock decide that they want to pick
up some cigarettes, so they go to a
convenience store. Rock goes inside and
Lee stays in the car. After a few minutes,
Lee hears a commotion. And fearing the worst, he
goes inside to investigate. When he gets there, he sees
three white men all surrounding Rock telling him that he has
no business in the store, and they’re beginning
to move in on him. That’s all Lee needed to see. He let out a yell and a few
minutes later those three men were unconscious on the ground. Lee and Rock went back home. They told the family
what had just happened. Everyone agreed Lee had
to get out of the South. If he didn’t, those three
men– probably more– would come for him, and the
police would be of no help. That’s not a
surprising conclusion. In fact, I’m willing
to bet that Lee knew that he would have to get
out of the South the minute he made the decision
to defend his brother. That didn’t stop him. I have to admire the
courage it took for Lee to assert his God-given rights. For better or for worse,
that’s an assertion that members of my generation
rarely ever have to make. I have to wonder that if I were
faced with the same challenge, would I have had the
courage that Lee, happens to be my grandfather,
had that morning? If it were up to me to
secure the rights of my race, to be brave, to put
my life on the line, would I have had the
courage to do so? If it were up to me to refuse to
give up my seat on a bus, if it were up to me to demand
my seat in a school to get my education,
would I even be allowed to stand at
this podium this morning? The answer these questions are
going to remain unknown to me because the past is the past. I can’t, nor do I
want to, relive it. That’s a bittersweet reality. On the one hand, I’ll
unlikely– it’s unlikely that I’ll ever have to endure
the trials my ancestors faced. But on the other
hand, I want to share in the work and
the sacrifice that have secured my
inalienable rights as a citizen of this
country and of this world. Here in the United States,
our laws and institutions now reflect what we know
to be right with respect to race, gender, and disability. But law has no jurisdiction
over our hearts and minds. When we doubt our
classmates, calling them the product of
affirmative action, when we wish that someone would
go back to his own country and stop competing with
real Americans for jobs, when we remove natural
born American citizens from our planes and our trains
and our subways because they resemble a madman who kills
innocence in the name of God, we grow ever more
distant from that dream. We’ve done well in purging
racism and hatred from our laws and institutions, but now to
realize Dr. King’s dream fully, we have to purge it from
our hearts and minds. The path to victory in this
second battle of the great war demands that we achieve
diversity through leadership. Because you see, it’s
not enough to know that we’re created equally. We have to live it
every day, or we default to ignorance and hatred. In the absence of diversity,
stereotype reigns. It’s like a parasite that
fills voids of knowledge that should be filled by personal
experience and reason. Stereotype rationalizes placing
blame where it doesn’t belong. Affirmative action for not
getting into your dream school or the drive
for a diverse workplace for not getting that
promotion you wanted. Stereotype even causes
members of your own race to look down on
you for something as petty as your taste
in music or something as important as the person
you choose to marry. But most importantly, and
most dangerously, stereotype causes us to doubt ourselves. In my work with Cambridge
Public School students, the greatest tragedy
isn’t the low test score. It’s not even the palpable
fear of math and science one block away from MIT. It’s the fact that
these students honestly don’t believe they
could grow up to become an astronaut or a physicist
or a mathematician or even the president. And why? Because little black girls
don’t grow up to become CEOs. Latinos have no business
in the US Senate. And people from this
neighborhood, they just don’t go to college. Yes, we must achieve
diversity through leadership, because it’s only when these
students can see themselves and people who are breaking
the mold, who are changing, redefining what it means to
be black, to be Hispanic, to be a woman, to
be gay, to be poor, that will restore their
sacred right to dream. For breaking that
mold takes courage and it takes leadership. The same courage and
the same leadership it took to stand up to Klansmen. The same courage and
the same leadership it took to march on Washington. And, yes, the same courage
and the same leadership it took for my
grandfather to defend his brother in that store. It’s his courage and
this leadership that’s going to inspire our
youth and our elders alike to abolish our
prejudices towards one another and to bring into
light a prophecy that when this happens, when
we allow freedom reign, when it rings from every village and
every Hamlet, every state and every city, we’ll be able
to speed up that day when all of God’s
children– black men and white men, Jews and
Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, can
join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro
spiritual, free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty
we’re free at last. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] PRESENTER: Thank
you very much, Matt. We will now hear
from Joy Johnson. Joy? [APPLAUSE] JOHNSON: Good morning. I am Joy Johnson,
a graduate student in electrical engineering
and computer science from Greensboro, North Carolina. North Carolina. OK. I remember the day my dad took
off work, which he never does, to come to my school for a
parent principal meeting, which I prayed he would
never have to do. It was like a dark
cloud descended upon that high school. I would rather had been the
[? rapture ?] than my father. But, you know, I hadn’t cut
class, I had been suspended. I hadn’t even failed a subject. What I had done was
apply for a scholarship. A scholarship which
required my counselor to send in my transcript. And so weeks went by
not hearing anything, I started to begin to think
that maybe I wasn’t good enough, maybe I didn’t deserve it. And so one day I
got a phone call from the Park Scholarships. It’s a full merit scholarship
to North Carolina State. And they said, we’re very
interested in interviewing you but we haven’t received
your transcript. So I began to call around
and seems like no one had received my transcript. But my classmates, all white,
had been sent and received in due form. I asked my counselor about it
and she said, I simply forgot. And that’s the reason
why my father descended upon Grimsley High School. It was a high school that
neither he nor my mother could attend for
the same reason she had forgotten that transcript. And many times, the intelligent
and the disenfranchised like suffer from what
psychologists like to call, the imposter syndrome. It’s a syndrome in
which the sufferers are unable to internalize
their own accomplishments, and thus they feel like
they don’t deserve them. We ask ourselves, do
we even belong here? What do we need to do to become
as equal, as smart, or as intelligent as everyone else? Well, many times the
imposter is not us at all. The theme for this
celebration is, yes, we must. But what must we do? For so long, we’ve been
achieving, inventing, and discovering. But for that same
time our achievements have been overlooked. Our inventions stolen, and
our discoveries rediscovered. And the imposters themselves
have been doing it so long that they perfected
the very art of fraud. Everyone always speaks
of Dr. King’s, I Have a Dream speech,
in which he says, “I have a dream that one
day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed. We hold these truths
to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” But this statement in
itself is fraudulent. These, in fact, are not the
words of Thomas Jefferson, but the words of his
neighbor, an Italian immigrant by the name of
Philip [? Mazai. ?] But what Dr. King knew
and what we now know is that the duality of
hypocrisy transcends these– just the injustice
of these words. What he knew was that
the issues between de facto and de jure law were not
new, nor were they original. There are so many untold
injustices and impostors in history that are
simply forgotten, stories of black musicians
like Robert Johnson and Roy Brown, who
in 1947 were playing rock and roll before Elvis
ever picked up a guitar. Stories of people like
the black sharecroppers of Tuskegee, Alabama who were
used mercilessly as lab rats to come up with the
drugs and treatments that we now use to treat
syphilis, whose names are in no medical journal. People like Vivian
Thomas, who created not only the medical
trials, surgical procedures, but the actual
instruments to serve the– excuse me– to serve infants
who have blue baby syndrome. But whose credit was given
to the white doctor whom he worked for as a janitor and
later a medical apprentice. And even in light of
our historical election, not once did I hear the name
of Shirley Chisholm, who in 1972 became the
first black major party candidate for President
of the United States, and the first female to run
for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. But each African-American has
a story of their own family members, their own relatives,
whom the imposter has served this plate of injustice. We have relatives whose
contribution to knowledge have been ignored
and whose rights have been denied on every
front, but they fought on. And yet, we find ourselves here. So now I ask you, do you
feel like an impostor when you walk on this campus? Do you ask yourself
what must I do? If the mantra is, yes, we
must, then what must we do? But I believe that Dr.
King put it best in his Give Us the Ballot address when
he said, “The hour is late. The clock of destiny is ticking. The time to act is now.” He said we must work
passionately and unrelentingly towards the goal of freedom. But we must keep our hands
clean in the struggle. We must not struggle with
falsehood, hate, or malice. We at MIT have an
extraordinary opportunity, as even our own
mission states, we must work to advance
knowledge and educate students in science, technology and
other areas of scholarship to serve this nation
and this world. It doesn’t say some students,
majority students, or minority students, or even all students. And I think that this
lack of differentiation is indicative of
the transparency we must have for true
innovation, for true intellectual advancement. And it requires that we have
interactions with one another, not only in the labs, in the
classrooms, in the corridors, [? Infineon ?] or otherwise. We must give credit
where credit is due. Not only in our academic work
but in our everyday lives. And this must begin
with acknowledgment. Speaking to one another. Speaking to our janitors,
our lab technicians, our bus drivers,
as eagerly as we speak to our
Institute professors. We must show integrity in our
collaborations with everyone. In our fervent pursuit of
solving the world’s problems, we must show the world that
this Institution’s decisions are made on merit and not on
nepotism, cronyism, or racism. We must, as our mission
states, serve this nation and this world through
our research, our talent, and our intellect. We must realize that we
are the dream that Martin dreamed at that university
just across the Charles River. And we must, as our
President has charged us in his most transparent version
of those infamous words, we must realize that the time
has come for us to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to
choose our better history, to carry forward that promise,
that precious gift, that’s been passed on from
generation to generation. The God-given promise
that all are equal. All are free and all
deserve the chance to pursue their full
measure of happiness. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] PRESENTER: Thank you, Joy. Once again, I would like
to thank both Matt and Joy for their timely remarks and
for letting the word of Dr. King be heard once more. Now, I have the honor of
asking Chancellor Phillip Clay to come to the podium
and recognize the 2009 MLK Leadership Awardees. Chancellor Clay? CLAY: Good morning. And thank you very much. I’m delighted to follow
Matt and Joy because they come from the same part of the
country I do, in the Carolinas. And I’m delighted that
the State is still exporting such great talent. Last night, we had
a dinner honoring the winners of the Martin
Luther King Leadership Awards, and to welcome Dr.
Johnetta Cole, our speaker. We had a lovely evening
in the tradition of celebrating leadership. And we celebrate it with
a particular meaning in mind, that is, those who
are anointed as our leaders are first our servants. Dr. King in several
of his sermons underscored that point, that
leadership is not purchased. It’s not something with
which one is anointed, but it is earned
through service. So we were pleased
to honor last night, and I ask you to recognize
several of our colleagues– faculty, staff, and students– who were given the awards. I will ask them to stand
as I call their names. First, students Alicia Bob
Simple, Jason [? Fort. ?] [APPLAUSE] There are two staff members– Deborah Liberman and
Barry [? Reckley. ?] This is a busy season. It’s Sloan admission, so
that’s probably where he is. And two faculty– Professor John [? Esseigman, ?]
and Professor Christine Ortiz. [APPLAUSE] Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] PRESENTER: Thank
you, Chancellor Clay, and congratulations to the
recipients of the award. Please welcome Hiram
Etienne, an MIT employee in the electrical engineering
and computer science department who will now share
a special song selection. [APPLAUSE] ETIENNE: Good morning. I remember Dr. King talking
about our common denominator. And in so doing, he
gave his own eulogy. And what he said was
that on that day, if you have somebody
speak for me, don’t have them stay too long. He said, don’t have them
talk about my degrees. Don’t have them
tell you anything about my hundreds of awards. He was like, don’t have them
talk about my Nobel Peace Prize. He was like, on that
day, just tell them I was a drum major for justice. I was a drum major for peace. And I tried to help someone. [MUSIC PLAYING] I was born by the
river in a little tent. Oh, and like the river, I’ve
been running, running ever since. It’s been a long,
long time coming. But I know a change
going to come. It’s been too hard living,
but I’m afraid to die. Oh, I don’t know what’s up
there way beyond the sky. It’s been a long, long time
coming, long time coming, but I know change coming,
change going to come. Listen. It’s been too hard living,
but I’m afraid to die. I don’t know what’s up
there way beyond the sky. It’s been a long, long time
coming, long time coming, but I– I know change is going to come. Then I go to my brother. I say brother, please, brother,
please, help me, please. But he winds up knocking
me, knocking me back down on my knees. There was times when I thought
this couldn’t last for long. I didn’t know if I
was able to carry on. It’s been a long, long time
coming, long time coming, but I know that change
is going to come. [APPLAUSE] PRESENTER: Thank you, Hiram,
that was quite moving. It now gives me great pleasure
to welcome the 16th President of MIT, Dr. Susan Hockfield. She will give some
remarks and proceed to introduce our keynote
speaker, Dr. Johnetta Cole. President Hockfield? [APPLAUSE] HOCKFIELD: What a
magnificent gift. Thank you. That was extraordinary. Actually, this morning
is extraordinary. Good morning. [AUDIENCE REPLIES GOOD MORNING] It is indeed a
beautiful new day. I welcome you all. It is an extraordinary delight
to be here this morning with all of you on this new day
for our campus, for the nation, for the world. The future looks extraordinarily
bright from where we sit today. I want to particularly welcome
Estella Johnson, who is here from the City of Cambridge. She’s the Director of
Economic Development, and we are always delighted
to have representatives from our fair city
here to join us. [APPLAUSE] Many thanks are
due this morning. I want to particularly
thank our hosts for this morning, the Committee
on Race and Diversity. Phil and I were just saying
that on MIT’s annual calendar, the celebration of
Dr. King’s legacy continues to be an
important landmark. Each year is more inspiring
than the year before. And we think, how in
the world are we going to do this again next year? Gets better and better. This day is a personal
inspiration for each of us to help realize the ideals
of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. I also want to express my
thanks and my admiration to Matt and Joy for
their presentations. Absolutely breathtaking. And I want to thank you for
the extraordinary standard that you set for all of us. Now, as you, I
believe, know Matt has been selected as one
of MIT’s 2 Rhodes Scholars for next year. [APPLAUSE] It’s an extraordinary
achievement to be sure, and Matt certainly exemplifies
what the Rhodes Scholarship stands for. They’re known for their
breadth and their intensity. And I would say that
Matt could not present a more compelling example. From the inspired
creativity of his research in synthetic biology
to the courage of his work as an emergency
medical technician. From the generosity
and imagination he’s shown in
teaching engineering in the local public schools,
and to the discipline and leadership he’s brought to
the fencing team, where he has been one of the team’s stars. And this morning we had a sample
of his extraordinary rhetorical powers. He represents the
very best of MIT. And it gives me
great pride to know that he’s going to
be representing MIT to the world at
Oxford next year. Now, if we have to let
Matt go to other shores, there’s some
consolation in knowing that Joy will be
with us on campus for yet a little while longer. She’s advanced the
frontiers of knowledge in micro and nanofabrication. And in the windows
of her spare time, and who knows how she
can find any spare time, she opens the world
of engineering to high school girls in
Dorchester and Roxbury. Joy, too, represents
the best of MIT. And I want to really
begin my remarks in earnest with a line
from a delightful blog that Joy manages to keep amidst
all her other activities. She writes for EECS. Now, what I’m going to quote
is something that happens on the page just after the
page that she has talked about a life-changing three work– three week trip to India. And she writes this. “I once heard that your
brain is like an old sweater. Once it’s been
stretched, it will never go back to its original shape.” Thank the Lord that our
minds work that way. Now, at the
celebration last year, I describe the
excitement of being in the middle of an
unprecedented political contest. Remember, a year
ago last February. And a contest in
which, as I put it, two candidates with a very
serious chance of winning the Presidency of
the United States, are an African-American
man and a woman. And I would remind
you that a year ago we had no idea the extraordinary
outcome of this year’s election. Today, just a little
more than two weeks since the inauguration
of President Obama– President Obama, the old sweater
of our national consciousness has been irreversibly stretched
in magnificent new directions. And believe me,
it won’t go back. As inspiring as this milestone
certainly is for young people, it carries an immense
power for those of us who are old enough to have
lived in a very different, much less embracing time. Now, President Obama’s election
was momentous in itself. But what made the
victory historic was not merely the identity
of our new President. It was the new America
that showed through so clearly in his election. President Obama’s support
came from young and old, from every race. From Americans born
in this country and from Americans
who had immigrated here from around the world. The truth that
this election shows is that a richly diverse
America does not await us. It is upon us. It’s our present,
and it is our future. It is the wonderfully
heterogeneous nation from which we draw
and will continue to draw most of our faculty,
students, and staff. It is the America we
serve as an Institute and that our students
will go on to lead. At MIT, we rightly
pride ourselves on inventing the future. To invent this future
for this new America, we cannot permit MIT to
reflect a nation of the past. That is the context behind
the theme today, yes, we must. Yes, we must achieve a
higher level of diversity and inclusion at MIT. And getting to that
level calls on leadership throughout the Institute. It was at the
celebration a year ago that I committed MIT to
holding a diversity leadership Congress as a way to bring
these issues to the top of the Institute’s agenda. To accelerate our progress,
and to engage the Institute’s distributed leadership. Distributed leadership. That means those people
with the most direct working responsibility for
making diversity and inclusion a daily reality at MIT. As you know, we held the
Congress late last semester calling together more
than 300 academic, administrative, and
student leaders. It was energizing. It was constructive,
and it produced lots of good practical ideas. But it also helped us appreciate
how much we still have to do. Perhaps most important, it
introduced to a broad MIT audience the imperative
for us to create a culture of inclusion. And to do that through
shared leadership, distributed leadership at every
level throughout the Institute. Now, certainly, I can
lead on this issue. And I will. Others certainly have
led and are leading, but it’s often the same brave
faces that we see on this issue over and over. This time, we’re asking
everyone to help shift this great stone of change. It’s another lesson we can learn
from the election of President Obama. When many, many people
feel empowered and seize opportunities for
progress, together they can create unprecedented change. And I can tell you that
the roughly 320 Institute leaders who gathered
at the Congress have taken up this charge. Now, what does a culture
of inclusion really mean? It means that a community
succeeds in its diversity only when it looks
beyond the numbers alone, and actively creates a
culture where everyone feels valued, included, and at ease. An environment in which everyone
can do their very best work. And while we didn’t
arrange this before, Matt and Joy have addressed
this same challenge. Let me be clear. A culture of inclusion
is not something we want to pursue because
it’s warm or fuzzy or a feel good idea. We must create a
culture of inclusion so that we can
actively capitalize on our diverse skills
and perspectives, so that we can better advance
the fundamental mission of MIT. Certainly, MIT is a place
with unrelenting standards of excellence. We’re all proud of that. We need to make it
possible for everyone to contribute at the
apex of their ability. And if something in the
culture is getting in the way, we have to change it. Creating a culture of
inclusion is simply not an optional exercise. At a very practical
level, the feedback we gathered at and
after the Congress called out five general
areas for our attention– retention, recruitment,
climate, communications, and accountability. While this morning
doesn’t offer the time to delve deeply into
these five areas, I do want you to
know that we’re using the feedback from the Congress
to advance important change. Let me give you a
couple of examples. First, in terms of
retention and climate, we’re following up on a number
of concrete suggestions. We’re going to be
creating a best practices tool kit to help
people understand how to be effective mentors. We’re going to be
promoting new affinity groups to build
networks of support, and we’ll foster regular
highly visible opportunities for dialogue between
people who don’t share the same backgrounds
or experiences. Another example, we know
we have a lot of work to do on communication. Believe it or not,
MIT, I would say, does not get an A in
communication yet. We’re going to be promoting
a clear, prominent vision of diversity at MIT and in
building these themes into how MIT defines itself. Following the Congress, we
created a pretty basic website simply to present the
proceedings to the community. We’re now working on
a richer site that will represent MIT’s
diversity and inclusion efforts comprehensively. It will highlight the many
different inclusion efforts on campus, and there
are a whole lot of them. Serve as a gateway to useful
resources and let the world know that we’re serious
about diversity inclusion here at MIT. Now, a number of
you have already offered suggestions and
recommendations and ideas about the website. I would say keep them coming. The website is a
work in progress. And it does not yet
approach the standards of an interactive portal
that we aspire to. Let me just talk a
little bit about what I mean by shared or
distributed leadership, and what it looks like. One highlight of the Congress
was a dry observation by Dr. Shirley
Malcolm of the AAAS. She said that all too often
what’s called a search process is merely a sort process,
an exercise in sifting through known options. This may sound familiar
to many of you. So how do we break this
all too familiar pattern? Here’s what one of the
participants wrote. “I require search committees
to compile a presearch list of women, underrepresented
minorities, and stars, who are good potential
applicants even if they’re not ready to apply this year. I ask them to invite these
individuals to apply, or to visit a year
or so in advance if they’re not yet applying
for faculty positions.” But here comes the
implementation. “The next year I follow
up and asked what happened to their previous list?” The truth is sometimes solutions
can be as simple as that as long as people in
positions of leadership carry them through. And there are signs that
more leaders are taking this issue on as their own. Some department
heads have already reached out to Professor Wesley
Harris, our Associate Provost for Faculty Equity, to
discuss their concrete plans for making their departments
national leaders in diversity and inclusion. Now, that distributed
leadership. To help individual leaders
succeed across the Institute, we need to keep uncovering
practical strategies. We need to get the
word out across MIT, and we need to follow up. Another inspiring example
of distributed leadership is the initiative on
faculty, race, and diversity. Under the leadership of
Professor Paula Hammond, seven full time
faculty members are conducting an
unprecedented qualitative and quantitative study of
faculty diversity issues at MIT. They expect to share their
findings with all of us next fall, and those findings
will define our challenges and suggest ways
to move forward. Their shared leadership is
inspiring and it’s essential. The truth– the truth
is that in building a culture of inclusion,
distributed leadership is our only path to success,
because the real progress in mentoring and reaching
out and locating new talent must happen step by step, unit
by unit, in labs and offices and residence halls
across all of MIT. Now, obviously, the
ideas I’ve described are just steps in a
very long journey. The progress we seek
will require broadly distributed leadership
and sustained efforts, centralized and
localized, big and small. Let me address one issue that
is particular to this moment. I’ve heard the serious
concern, and the real concern, that our efforts to build
a culture of inclusion could be imperiled by starkly
shrinking budgets, which we do indeed face. But let me reassure you that
budget pressures will not deflect us from this work. At the same time,
it’s worth noting that many of the most
important elements of a culture of inclusion,
things like connection, conversation, kindness. These elements don’t
cost anything at all. It costs nothing to make sure
that every new hire of whatever background is paired up
with a long-term employee as a welcoming guide. It costs nothing for
the Institute leaders to reach out
proactively to student cultural and affinity groups. And likewise, it costs
nothing for those groups occasionally to hold
cross-cultural meetings together. For every department head
to check in regularly with all women and
professors of color costs no more than an
occasional cup of coffee. Surveying faculty members
for the top 20 or 30 students in their
lecture courses is bound to turn up women and
students of color who might be the next [? Europe’s ?] star. And it costs no
more than an email. It costs nothing to ask
in an annual review what steps an individual has taken
to build a culture of inclusion, or to educate your colleagues
about the difference between a search and a sort. We cannot, and we will not,
allow tight budgets to be an excuse for
inertia and inaction. Before I close, I want to be
clear that all the developments I’ve discussed today are only
the latest fruits of a process that’s been growing
here for many, many years I cannot possibly
mention all the groups and individuals who deserve our
gratitude for their passionate commitment and perseverance
on these issues. But I do want to call out
a few of the major current initiatives, including
the Committee on Race and Diversity, which is led
by Professor Phil Thompson. And as I said at the
outset, the Committee hosted a celebration
of Dr. King. The Council on Staff Diversity
led by Vice President of Human Resources Allison Alton, is
doing very important work in the staff dimension. And Sandra Harris, with her
inspired New Fame program. This program helps freshmen bond
together multicultural groups beginning during
pre-orientation. I also want to acknowledge
the very important leadership of our Associate
Provost for Faculty Equity, Professors Barbara
[? Liscough ?] and Wesley Harris. The MIT leaders of this
caliber, extraordinary caliber, have taken on these roles
on behalf of the Institute demonstrates how serious we
are about accelerating change. We’re serious about it
because as today’s program says, yes, we must. Now, it is my
extraordinary pleasure to introduce Dr.
Johnetta B. Cole. Let me just give you a little
bit of personal reflection on this morning. Dr. Cole is one of
those people for me who you watch in the
distance and no matter how great the distance,
she stands as a giant. You imagine would it be like
to meet her face-to-face. Someone who has had
such a huge impact and has loomed so large in your
imagination and your vision. I can tell you to
meet her in person is like a hurricane
blowing through your mind. Dr. Cole, welcome to MIT. Johnetta [INAUDIBLE]
Cole was born to a prominent African-American
family in Jacksonville, Florida in the then deeply segregated
south of this country. Years before her birth,
her great grandfather had founded the first insurance
agency in the State of Florida, and it was assumed that she
would carry on the prospering family insurance business. But as a precocious student
who went off to college at the age of 15, Johnetta
Bench discovered herself as a scholar. And she had to break
it to her family that she actually planned
to study anthropology. Many of us in the room
has had this experience of conveying to our
family that we actually weren’t going to
go in the direction that they anticipated for us. Beginning at Fisk
College, she completed her undergraduate
work at Oberlin and earned her PhD from
Northwestern University. In the years since,
Dr. Cole has become one of the most effective
and beloved leaders in higher education, and a leading
thinker and speaker on questions of equality and social justice. She currently holds
emeritus status at Emory University, where
she taught for many years, retiring as Presidential
Distinguished Professor of Anthropology,
Women’s Studies, and African-American Studies. Dr. Cole is also
President Emerita of both of the nation’s two
historically black colleges for women– Bennett College for Women
and Spelman College. She is the only
individual to have held both of these presidencies. What’s more, when she took
on the presidency of Spelman College in 1987, she became the
first African-American woman to serve in that role in
Spelman’s 107 year history. From 2004 to 2006,
Dr. Cole served as the Chair of the Board of
the United Way of America. Again, the first
person of color to lead that national organization. Today, she chairs the board
of the Johnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and
Inclusion Institute, founded at Bennett
College for Women. Let me give one final word. Dr. Cole was once asked about
the experience of being first in so many of her endeavors. She replied, “In one way,
it’s very exhilarating. You can almost take
yourself too seriously. Until you realize that
something is probably wrong, being the first probably says,
why has it taken so long?” And I can tell you, it takes
huge courage to be the first. I hope that in bringing
diversity and inclusion to the top of MIT’s agenda,
and in bringing Dr. Cole to our campus, we’re
moving closer to the day when the firsts will
be far behind us. While the great task
of inventing the future lies ahead, it is
my privilege to ask you to join me in
giving Dr. Cole a very warm welcome to MIT. [APPLAUSE] COLE: Thank you. Sister president,
Susan Hockfield. And I’m going to turn to find
the brother Chancellor Phillip Clay. My sisters and brothers of
the faculty and of the staff. And but of course, I would greet
every single sister and brother of this student body. Without them, we wouldn’t have
any reason you know to be here. I also want to acknowledge that
there are sisters and brothers from the larger
community who are here, including our sister
who was acknowledged. Now, in case I’ve
left anybody out, let me just say, sisters and
brothers all, good morning. And if I can draw on one of
the many religious traditions in this great country of
ours, I would not only say good morning. I would say it’s a
great get up morning. Now, you might ask why I would
begin my talk by greeting each of you with that language. Sisters and brothers
all, clearly, it comes from growing in
the south– growing up in the South. And in particular, in an
African-American family that was deeply, deeply
rooted in a black church. But it also comes
from participating in the Civil Rights
Movement and the Black Power Movement of the ’60s. You know, when young
and not so young folk of a range of
backgrounds and attributes put their lives on the line
in the interest of justice, they were sisters and brothers. And being trained as
an anthropologist, I remember one of the greatest
lessons that I learned. And that is that
kinship is ultimately really not about biology. It’s about attitudes and
behavior and shared vision. If we are all here together
on this particular occasion, I’ve got to assume that you
are my sisters and my brothers. It is, of course, a very, very
special occasion here at MIT, when once again, you stop and
you pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. The loving man who courageously
carried Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy through some of the
most turbulent times America has ever known. Nina Samoan called Dr. King
the dark prince of peace. All over our country
during the last few weeks and into this one, and
perhaps a few more, people of every
hue and background acknowledge that 80 years ago,
Martin Luther King, Junior was born. And in his ever so
brief stay on earth, he dared to imagine,
believe in, and work for the fulfillment of a
mighty, mighty, mighty dream. A dream of racial equality. I believe that if Dr. King
had lived beyond the 38 years that he gave to us, that he
would have described and worked for an even larger dream. And we hear it hinted
at when he talked about the beloved community. It would be a dream that,
of course, would include that day when no
one would be judged by the color of their skin. But I think Dr. King
would have increasingly articulated a
dream of a day when we would cease to judge
anyone based on their gender, based on their sexual
orientation, their age, religion, class, nationality,
physical, and mental abilities or disabilities. Today, these years
after Dr. King so brilliantly and
movingly delivered what we have come to call
his I Have a Dream speech, we are challenged to ask has
that dream of racial equality been fulfilled? Let me put the
question in the context of the incredibly
significant event that has taken place in our nation. The folk that grew
me in Jacksonville would use an expression. They wouldn’t just
say our nation. They would say ours own. Namely, that on January
the 20th the year 2009, Barack Obama, the
son of a Kenyan man and a Kansan white mom
became the 44th President of the United States of America. Following that extraordinary
moment in the history and her story of our
nation and our world, the first family of
America, a black family, moved into the White House. The very White House that
slaves helped to build. After Senator– or then
Senator Obama won the election, many of us could just
not stop saying it. We would greet each other, and
we would hug, and we would say, I never thought it would happen. What’s the rest of it? Oh, but my sisters and my
brothers all, it has happened. Now, some have argued
that the election of Barack Obama as the
President of the United States signals that America is
now a post racial society. Folk who grew me at this
point would say well, his election certainly does
say to us that in our land, race is no longer a barrier to
the highest office in America. But in my view, it does
not mean that racism has ceased to exist. It is simply possible
for white folk to accept a black leader in
the highest office in the land and still support
institutionalized racism. And as you know, when
institutionalized racism goes into cahoots with
poverty, the results are devastating for our
nation’s people of color. It is that double jeopardy,
that double whammy of racism and poverty that
leads to Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos,
suffering disproportionately from a range of diseases. It leads to these
communities experiencing twice as much unemployment
as white Americans. It is behind the association
of people of color with substandard housing. And it is this double
jeopardy of racism and poverty that propels such
high dropout rates for black and Latino students. And that sends more of our young
black and brown men to prison than to colleges
and universities. Individual acts of racism
also persist in our nation. The election of
President Obama, with all of the joy that we felt,
it also ignited a number of outbursts of bigotry. Jesse Washington, an
Associated Press journalist wrote these words just a few
days after the November 4 election. “Cross burnings, school children
chanting assassinate Obama. Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled
on homes and cars. Such incidents
around our country, referring to President-elect
Barack Obama, before he became president, began to
dampen the post election glow of racial
progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn
racism that remains in America.” And yet, my sisters
and my brothers all, despite such incidents,
as the brother said he was searching for a
week, now, we can declare it. Change has come. And yet we are still such
a mighty, mighty long way away from being able to
declare victory over bigotry and discrimination. The great African-American
scholar and activist, Dr. W. E.B. Du Bois once
said that the problem of the 20th century is the
problem of the color line. Well, here we are
in the 21st century. We have yet to eradicate the
problem of the color line, and there’s so many more
lines, that we human beings have constructed to divide us. Lines based, as you know,
on gender, and class, and religion, and nationality. On sexual orientation,
on age, on physical and mental abilities. Because various forms of
bigotry and discrimination are so widespread
and so tenacious, many are led to say and
to believe that it is just human nature to dislike people
who are different from who you are, to create
systems of inequality based on those differences. I could sure call
on anthropology, but why don’t I just call
on common sense to say no. Big– gesundheit. Bigotry is not
just human nature– excuse me– and you know what? It ain’t– I need
my water, please. And you know what? Bigotry it ain’t genetic. It’s learned. And if it is
learned, guess what? It can be unlearned. And even more thrilling, we
could just stop teaching it. Now, I’m not naive to think that
we can rid the world of bigotry by declaring a moratorium
on teaching it. But it would help. And how well I know that
bigotry and discrimination are about power and about privilege. It’s not easy for folk who have
power and privilege to decide to give it up. You remember what Frederick
Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a struggle. It never did, and
it never will.” We have to offer to
those who have it a more rewarding alternative. Martin Luther King,
Junior’s alternative. “We need to imagine and
work toward making a world– making a world where
a difference doesn’t make any more difference. We need to envision and
then create communities where everyone is respected
and invited to the table, so that their
voices can be heard. So that their
experiences can help to propel the work
that needs to be done.” And if there isn’t enough
room at the table, guess what? We got to learn how to
build bigger tables. Here in our nation,
power and privilege based on race and
gender stand out. And so as an
African-American woman, I know what it is like not
to have white skin privilege. I know what it is like not
to have male privilege. But it is ever so important
that I acknowledge and deal with the reality that there is
some power and some privilege that I do have. I clearly have power
and privilege as someone who is of the
upper middle class. I have power and privilege as
someone who is a heterosexual, a Christian and
physically abled– although the last
one of my friends– one of my friends
who does so much work in the communities that
are differently abled, she says, “Being
physically able, just wait. For all of us, it’s ultimately
a temporary condition.” This reality that each of
us has some form of power and privilege flows from
the fact that each of us has multiple identities. And it’s ever so
important for us to be aware of those identities
and to guard against efforts to characterize us
in singular terms. Sister President Susan, refer
to the enormous excitement when we had an African-American
man and a white American woman as candidates for
the presidency. But it was also a moment
of enormous tension for some of us. As we were being
lobbied with the words that if you are a woman,
you have no choice. Hillary Rodham Clinton
is your candidate. If you are an African-American,
you have no choice. Barack Obama is your candidate. For those of us who are
twofers, what were we to do? The answer, I think,
is that we were first to own our
multiple identities. And then we were
to make a decision based on more than a
candidate’s race or gender. I want to share one other
reality about this stuff that we call bigotry
and discrimination. It is this that,
unfortunately, being the victim of one form of
bigotry or discrimination does not a new one from
victimizing others. For example, excuse
me, some white women who have been the
victims of sexism can systematically
practice racism. Some black folk who have known
the bitter sting of racism can be intensely homophobic
and practice hetero sexism. Some people who
are Jewish and have been the victims
of anti-Semitism can harbor feelings
and, in fact, carry out actions that
stem from Islamophobia. So my sisters and brothers all
of this prestigious university, based on the points
that I have tried to make about the ongoing
challenges to what is simply a reality,
human diversity. Challenges that are expressed as
bigotry and as discrimination. What might I ask of you? Ask of you who are now
already leaders or poised to be leaders. I hope it doesn’t
sound arrogant for me to say that I think what
I am about to ask of you, Dr. Martin Luther King,
Junior, were he here, would also ask of you. And I am convinced that if
the brother President Barack Hussein Obama were here, that he
would ask this of you no less. What I’m about to ask, please
know that I ask also of myself first. Learn how you learned
your prejudices. That is, interrogate yourself
about your particular journey around questions of
diversity and inclusion. There were so many moments when
our brother Matt and our sister Joy made those
stunning presentations that I was simply moved. But notice that in each
of those presentations they had interrogated
themselves about the journey that they’re on. They had asked of themselves how
they had learned in each case to be soldiers in opposition
to bigotry and discrimination. And for those of you who
are parents, or thinking about becoming parents, I
ask this quite simply of you. Teach your children well. But refuse to
teach them bigotry. I also ask that you get in touch
with your multiple identities. And once you do so,
you must never, ever, ever again let anyone
into an act with you on the basis of one alone. I had the great
privilege and joy of teaching at Hunter
College at a moment when one of my she-roes,
Audre Lorde, was there. Yeah, one of my she-roes because
for every hero in the world, there’s at least one she-roe. Audre Lorde, who many
of you will know, became the Poet Laureate
of the State of New York, but was clearly then as she is
now, among the most recognized black feminist lesbian writers. When Audre Lorde would
stand up to speak, she would inevitably
begin by saying I am Audre Lorde, a black woman,
feminist, lesbian, mother, poet, warrior. And I remember that
she would sometimes say, don’t you dare deny me
any of the parts of who I am. I don’t wake up in the morning
and decide from 7:00 to 8:00 I’ll be black and
get on with it, because by 8:00 I’ve
got to become a woman and I’ve got until 9:00 o’clock
before I turn into a lesbian. I also urge you to
honestly examine your own power and privilege. For if you are to avoid using
your power and privilege in ways that exploit
and oppress others, then you’ve got to be in touch
with what power and privilege you have. And finally in terms of
what I ask of each of you, asking this of you to
encourage exercising leadership to create and sustain greater
diversity and inclusion at MIT. Let me say this on that. While very impressive
steps have been taken here at MIT under the
transformative leadership of our sister
President Hockfield, and while there is ongoing work
of the MIT Diversity Leadership Congress, I came all the
way from Atlanta, Georgia to tell you that
that is not enough. That each of you must take
personal responsibility for helping to change
this mighty institution. That means in concrete
terms, some of the actions that sister President
Susan shared this morning. And so I’m going to be
repetitive for a little bit. But remember, when it comes
to education and action, repetition is good for the soul. And so I say first that
you’ve got to make sure that the curriculum at MIT has
moved away from the three W’s. You know about the three W’s? That’s a curriculum that is far
too Western, too white, and too woman-less. That means if you are
to indeed transform this mighty institution
into a still mightier one, that every department must
refuse to move forward with a faculty or a staff
search if there isn’t a diverse pool of candidates. Ooh, to what sister
Shirley Malcolm said about searching
vs. sorting, let us say amen
and a women, too. To bring about greater
diversity and inclusion at MIT, it means not only recruiting a
diverse class of students each and every year, it
really must mean creating an inclusive
culture so that students of color, students of the
LGBT community, students who are differently abled, students
of all underrepresented groups, can proudly say, this
is my university, or better put, Institute. It’s time now for me
to bring some closure, but I’m going to do
it in the tradition of great black preachers
who tell you they are going to begin to conclude. And it takes a
while to get there. I want to do so by
telling you a story. And I, again, turn to sister
Joy and to brother Matt to say that in addition
to all of your brilliance and your humanity,
you have discovered the power of storytelling. The story that I’m going
to tell is not my own. It was a favorite of
another of my she-roes. Her name was– I need to say ma’am
first out of respect– Fannie Lou [? Hamer. ?] And
you will remember her perhaps best for the line that she used
she said, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. But unlike many of us who say
that and then just proceed to do nothing about
it, this daughter of sharecroppers, this woman
of the Mississippi Delta, went on to do something about
being sick and tired of racism and injustice. And as you know, she led a
many a black sister and brother up those steps of a statehouse
to register to vote. And for that act of courage
and being an American, the water hose would
push her to the ground, the billy clubs would
come across her head, and jail became a
place she knew well. Fannie Lou [? Hamer ?]
loved to tell this story at the end of her
talk, because she said it would answer
the question, who is to do the work? Who is responsible? If we can phrase it in terms of
your theme of this gathering, who are the leaders? Who are the leaders that
have the responsibility to bring greater diversity
and inclusion to MIT? The last line of the story
will answer the question. It’s a wonderful story. It’s about some young
boys who one day decided to play hooky from school. Well, there was no
point in playing hooky from school unless they could
get into some trouble, thought they. And they proceeded to do so. The ringleader caught a bird
and they just figured out– they thought very ingenious ways
of torturing that poor bird to within an inch of its life. But then they grow– they
grew bored with that. The ringleader
said, I got an idea. I’ll tell you what
we’re going to do. We’re going to go
up the road apiece, and we’re going to ask that old
lady up there a question she will be incapable of answering. What was the question,
said one of his buddies. Said, you remember that bird
we just finished messing with? I’m going to take
that bird and I’m going to put it behind my back. And then I’m going to
say, old lady, old lady, this bird that I have
behind my back, is it dead or is it alive? Now, if the old lady says,
why the bird is dead, I’m going to release my
hands, it’ll fly away. She’ll be wrong. But if to my question, Oh,
lady, is the bird dead or alive? If she says, why
the bird is alive. I’m going to crush it. And she will be wrong. So they did their high
fives and away they went to find the old lady. When they did, the ringleader
with that disrespectful tone that characterizes far from
all but some of our youngins. The ringleader
said, oh, lady, oh, lady, you going to
answer my question? And with that humility
and decency and compassion that characterizes so
many of our elders, the old lady said, why– why, yes, my son, I will try. He said, well, all
right, old lady. Remember now, what
the old lady says is the answer to
the question, who is responsible for bringing
greater diversity and inclusion to this great Institute? All right. Old lady, the ringleader
said, see this bird? I’m going to put
it behind my back. Now, you tell me, is the
bird dead or is it alive? And she thought and
thought and thought. And then this is what the
old lady said, she said, hmm, hmm, the bird. Why– why it’s in your hands. That’s the answer. It’s not sister President Susan. It’s not brother
Chancellor Phil. It’s not any committee including
the Diversity Congress leaders. Changing this Massachusetts
Institute of Technology to be an incredibly welcoming
place to the good Lord, to her many people,
you know what? That work is in your hands. And in some other
place, and always, I know, it’s also in mine. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] PRESENTER: Please join me
in thanking Dr. Johnetta Cole for her heartfelt words. [APPLAUSE] Please join me in welcoming
Provost Rafael Wraith, who will join– who will now
recognize the 200i-2009 Martin Luther King, Junior visiting
professors and visiting scholars. Provost Wraith. WRAITH: What an incredible,
humbling experience it is to stand on
this podium after this remarkable presentation
of Dr. Cole– or I should say, Sister Dr. Cole. I want to thank you for this. COLE: Thank you, bro. WRAITH: Thank you for this
moving and very inspiring speech. The MLK visiting professor
and scholars’ program honors the life and legacy of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior by inviting and recognizing
the contributions of outstanding scholars
and scientists, and asking them to
spend some time at MIT to reach our campus. This program, as
all of you know, is being run out of the office
of Associate Provost Wesley Harris. So I’m going to be identifying
the MLK scholars of this year and then we’ll be asking
them to please stand up. I think most of you are here. And I’ll try as best
I can to embarrass you while you’re standing up. Dr. Delores Acevedo Garcia. Is she here? Let me read what she is here
doing and where she come from. She’s right now a visiting
associate professor in the Department of Urban
Studies and Planning. She’s an associate
professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. She received her PhD in
public affairs and her masters in public affairs in urban
and regional planning, both from Princeton. She received Dr.
Roosevelt Garcia her BA in public administration
at the Center of International Studies
in [INAUDIBLE] Mexico, Mexico City. Her research interests
include the effect of social determinants such
as residential segregation and immigrant integration
on health disparities, especially among racial
and ethnic lines. And the role of non health
policies such as housing policies, immigrant policies,
in reducing those disparities. Professor Leonard
Daniel, please stand up. Professor Daniel is a
visiting assistant professor in our Department
of [INAUDIBLE].. He received his bachelor’s
and master’s degree in sciences with highest honors
in mechanical engineering from the Soviet Academy
of Science in Moscow. And a PhD degree
from the University of London, Queen Mary,
an Imperial College. After working as
a senior research scientist at UK Defense
Evaluation Research Agency, and at the European
Space Agency, he joined the Department
of Mechanical Engineering of the University of New
Orleans, where he is currently a research professor. He’s also a visiting
professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He teaches and conducts
research in the area’s aerospace composites, structural dynamics,
nanomaterials, [INAUDIBLE],, and intelligence structures,
with applications to morphing aircraft,
intelligence and manned area vehicles, and intelligent
vehicle and highway systems. For Daniel, thank you
for being with us. [APPLAUSE] Professor Thomas [? Clave. ?] [APPLAUSE] You have to stand up and suffer. Professor Glade is
a visiting professor in a program on writing
and humanities– humanistic studies. His home institution
is the State University of New York in Binghamton. He received his MFA in creative
writing from Brown University. And his BA with a
major in English and a minor in Latin American
studies from Baldwin College. Professor Glade traveled
as a Fulbright scholar to Jamaica, where he studied
Jamaican historiography and Caribbean intellectual
and literary traditions. While in Jamaica,
professor Glade worked on issues
of social justice and helped found the
Jamaica forum for lesbians, all sexuals, and gays. A passionate writer
and political activist, professor Glade has taught at
the University of Virginia, Cleveland State, Brown, Indiana
and [INAUDIBLE] Universities, and is presently an
assistant professor of English, General
Literature and Rhetoric at Sunny Binghamton. He has received numerous
fellowships and awards and I’m going to
just mention one. He was named a writer on the
verge by the Village Voice in 2000. Professor Glade, thank you. [APPLAUSE] Professor Dale [INAUDIBLE]. [APPLAUSE] Professor [INAUDIBLE]
is with us, a visiting assistant professor
in the media arts and sciences program. After his electrical engineering
PhD from Michigan State University, he developed speech
processing and sensor network algorithms at Lockheed Martin. Later, as a faculty member
at Tulane University, Professor [INAUDIBLE] turn
this signal processing algorithms toward the
monitoring of wildlife. At MIT’s Media Lab, he has
taught the class of technology for observing
natural environments, and held seminars on bounding
ellipsoidal optimization theory. Professor [INAUDIBLE] aspires to
tackle public health problems, such as malaria, through
sensor-based monitoring of responsible vectors
where they are most needed. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Dr. Carl Paris. Is Dr. Paris here? [APPLAUSE] Dr. Paris is a visiting
scholar in our women’s and gender studies. He holds an MA in
dance theory and dance in higher education from
NYU and New York University. And a PhD in dance studies
and cultural theory from Temple University. He has taught technique and
dance-related courses in Spain at the theater institutes of
Madrid, Barcelona, [INAUDIBLE] and at CalArts. He has served on the faculty at
NYU and Long Island University, and more recently,
as adjunct professor in African-American
history and race and ethnicity at John
Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Dr. Paris has performed
among– with many of the prominent dance
companies of today. Among them are
[INAUDIBLE] African dance, Martha Graham,
and Alvin Ailey. At MIT, Dr. Paris
will teach a class in the traditions of
American dance, gender, and autobiography. In addition, he will work
toward expanding his research into a book that will include
a philosophical intersection between selected
issues in black dance and the wider contemporary
cultural studies context. Dr. Paris, thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] And one more, Dr.
[? Latanya ?] [? Sweeney. ?] [APPLAUSE] Dr. Sweeney is a
visiting professor in our EECS Department,
Electrical Engineering Computer Science. She is an associate professor
of computer science, technology, and policy in the School
of Computer Science at CMU, Carnegie Mellon University. She also founded and serves as
a director of the data privacy lab, which works with
real world stakeholders to solve today’s privacy
technology problems. Her work involves
creating technologies and related policies with
provable guarantees of privacy protection, while
allowing society to collect and share
person specific information for many worthy purposes. She received her PhD in
computer science from MIT. [APPLAUSE] The next one may not
get that much applause. Her undergraduate degree
in computer science was from Harvard University. She has received
many awards from many numerous organizations. Dr. Sweeney, thank you very
much for being with us. Before I conclude, I
would like to recognize a very special visitor
we have today at MIT. This is Dr. Victor
[? McCreary. ?] Vic, do you mind standing up? I know you’re surprised. Victor came to visit us
yesterday, I believe, and he is making time to
be with us this morning. Victor is the President of
the National Organization of Black Chemists and
Chemical Engineers. And that is his night job. Victor is the business
area executive for science and technology for
the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics laboratory. And he is the assistant
department head of the Milton Eisenhower Research Center. He got his doctoral degree
from Holly University in physical chemistry, and had
a long and outstanding career and has received numerous
awards and honors. And we’re delighted that
he’s here with us today and helping us to carry forward
the legacy of Martin Luther King. [APPLAUSE] Let me just ask
you to please join me to thank and congratulate
all those extremely successful scholars
who are choosing to spend some time with us. Thanks, again. [APPLAUSE] PRESENTER: We will now continue
with some announcements relevant to our celebration. Throughout this week,
those of you on campus may have had the pleasure of
seeing the installation located in Lobby 10, designed and
constructed by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. IAP Seminar. The installation is part of
a seminar called The Martin Luther King Junior IAP
Design Seminar, which is offered each year during
January to facilitate the design and construction of
an installation placed in Lobby 10, and special projects
organized in conjunction with MIT’s annual
celebration of Dr. King. Students in the class, reading
materials, and watch videos about Dr. King and other
important civil and human rights leaders in
the US and beyond. The theme for this
year’s installation is Injustice Anywhere is a
Threat to Justice Everywhere. We invite you to read the insert
included with your program to learn more about the
numerous activities implemented by this year’s class. MIT is proud to announce that
Lisa Owens is this year’s recipient of the 2009 YMCA of
Greater Boston Black Achievers Award. Lisa has been recognized
as a minority staff employee who exemplifies
MIT standard of excellence. Lisa is a chief radiological
technologist at MIT Medical. Lisa? [APPLAUSE] MIT will host MC^2, also known
as Multicultural Conference on March 7th. The Multicultural
Conference works to bring students together
across race, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual
orientation, and other aspects of cultural identity. The one day conference
is open to all students with an interest in issues
of diversity and inclusion at MIT and beyond. The organizers are
black outcrop– a blackout on Prop 8,
invites the audience to join them tonight
at 6:00 PM in W 20407 for a blackout on Prop 8. A discussion on the
media scapegoating of the African-American
community following the passing
of Prop 8 in California. The discussion will focus on
correcting our assumptions addressing LGBT and racial
tensions, and what we can do at MIT to push for LGBT rights. Now, please welcome back,
Hiram Etienne and the pianist from the MIT gospel
choir to lead us in singing the Negro
National anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, by
James Weldon Johnson. We ask that you
join in and sing. The lyrics are located on
the back of your program. Please stand. ETIENNE: Had such a great
time today, actually, I’d just like to say that. This was an awesome ceremony. [PIANO PLAYING] Sing it with me. Lift every voice and sing
till earth and heaven ring. Ring with the
harmonies of Liberty. Let our rejoicing rise,
high as the listening skies, let it resound loud
as the roaring sea. Sing a song full of the faith
that the dark past has taught us, sing a song full of the hope
that the present has brought us, facing the rising
sun of our new day begun, let us march on
till victory is won. Stony the road we trod,
bitter the chastening rod, felt in the day when
hope unborn had died, yet with a steady beat,
have not our weary feet, come to the place for
which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that
with tears has been watered. We have come, treading
our path through the blood of the slaughtered, out from
the gloomy past, till now we stand at last where the white
gleam of our bright star is cast. God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears, thou who has brought
us thus far on the way, thou who hast by thy might,
led us into the light, keep us forever in
the path, we pray lest our feet stray
from the places, our God, where we met thee,
lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the
world, we forget thee, shadowed beneath thy hand,
may we forever stand, true to our God, true
to our native land. Thank you. MALE SPEAKER: Now,
by the grace of God, brothers and sisters
go forth into the world shaped by a dream, motivated
by an imperative that we must and empowered by courage to
live of lives worthy of those on whose shoulders we stand. Let the congregation say amen. Try it again. Amen. [APPLAUSE]

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