GOSHEN — And tribute was paid, again.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day at Goshen College took place Monday, on the holiday bearing the slain civil rights leader’s name. Tony Brown, a GC alum, a singer and a professor at Hesston College in Kansas, spoke during the morning convocation at the College Mennonite Church. Brown talked about contemporizing Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideals and goals and the changes in diversity from his time at the college to now.
“I think I was trying to say that this work of diversity is sacred work and that the core of this work is motivated by our faith,” Brown said afterword of his presentation, “and I was also trying to say that we’ve gone through a lot of changes in this country, especially demographically, and that’s bringing new challenges but that we have to meet those challenges and think of them as exciting opportunities to expand our own experiences.”
Brown said there are many issues facing society as a whole - racism, wealth inequality, environmental issues and immigration, among many others.
“I don’t think there is one issue, I think that there are many issues that are at work in our country,” he said. “We have real challenges in our country and somehow we have to come together to find a way to solve them.”
In his speech, Brown included the issues and struggles of other groups as well.
“We must also include women and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community who are also a part of our diversity and find room for these voices to enrich and expand our understanding of the human experience,” Brown said. “Yes, diversity for the 21st century includes and goes beyond race.”
Brown used quotes in his presentation from political activists including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President John F. Kennedy, among others. Brown also talked about issues in higher education and how diversity should be embraced and taught at institutes including Goshen College. He cited data indicating that by 2050, the United States will no longer be a white majority.