SSM’s own Father Henry Doyle, Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations and Outreach, and Lotte Aga ’22 were invited to speak at the Faribault Diversity Coalition’s (FDC) 7th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, which took place virtually at 9 a.m. on Monday, January 18th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The FDC works to foster understanding and community well-being among the many cultures represented in Faribault, in order to create a fair and equitable Faribault for all. The organization holds an annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast to recognize Dr. King’s likeminded work towards equality and justice. Other SSM students also participated alongside students from Faribault Schools in a video recorded reading of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Lotte spoke about her relationship to the life of Dr. King as a student who grew up in Belgium and has lived in the U.S. for only a year. She was introduced to the “I Have a Dream” speech in 7th grade, where it inspired her to believe in her own dreams. She recalled how shocked she was to learn that he had been assassinated, even though he was known for nonviolent protesting. Finally, Lotte described how she visited the place where Dr. King was killed last summer and realized that Dr. King’s vision hasn’t yet been realized, but, “We’re getting closer every day.”
Father Doyle was sixteen when Dr. King was killed, and as the keynote speaker for this event, he described what it was like to hear him on the radio and witness the good he was doing for the people for the U.S. and the world, as well as the violence Dr. King experienced leading up to his death. Specifically, Father Doyle shared the following with event attendees:
“He [King] had risked his life and his families’ lives because he believed that God had called him to do whatever possible to end the inhumane treatment people of color had endured in the South and elsewhere in the country. Dr. King lived in constant danger. He was jailed 30 times. But through it all, his deep faith sustained him.”
“I felt anger toward the white man who had taken Dr. King’s life. I certainly did not like this man. But I did not say, ‘I hate you.’ I did not wish him to die in return. I blamed him for the murder, not other white people.”
“Dr. King had said, ‘I have decided to stick to love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.’ He also said, ‘Hatred paralyzes life. Love releases it. Hatred confuses life. Love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life. Love illumines it.’”
“Dr. King called on us to care about each other. He stated, ‘An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.’ He emphasized a life of service to others.”
When Father Doyle concluded his keynote address, the FDC played a previously recorded video of students from both SSM and the Faribault High School reading Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, together, in honor of the life of this American civil rights hero.
To honor Dr. King back at school, SSM students in Empowering Differences Promoting Awareness (EDPA) created an interactive display on both campuses in which students and faculty can place their fingerprints within images of doves, the symbol of peace. Each fingerprint uses a different color of paint, which symbolizes that community member’s commitment to a different task that will work to make our community a better, safer, and more peaceful place. Visit our Empowering Differences Promoting Awareness page to see the work that this student organization does to keep the work of Dr. King present and active in our School year-round. You can also read more about Lotte’s previous work with the FDC for their International Festival here.