MLK Day Message from President Bodnar


Dear members of the UM community,

Monday, we will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an extraordinary American whose legacy as a civil rights leader, activist and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize serves as an inspiration. We will celebrate the conviction – and in some cases great sacrifices – of the many who have fought and who continue to fight for equality and opportunity for all.

Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” He dreamed of a nation in which every person would be equal, and he devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice and economic opportunity for all. Against what seemed like impossible odds, King and scores of his fellow citizens of all races ensured, in the words of the abolitionist minister Theodore Parker in 1853, that the moral universe, whose “arc is a long one” ultimately “bends toward justice.” In recognition of his legacy of service to all, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.”

But the work of King – and of so many others who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of justice and equity – is far from complete. As we all know, these are challenging times for our country. We unfortunately are experiencing increasing levels of discord and division, and we continue to see examples every day of injustice and of our fellow citizens being marginalized or made to feel unsafe, even right here in our own community.

The injustices we combat today are the very ones King rallied against more than five decades ago, and as we commemorate his life on Monday, we also remember his challenge to each of us: to recognize the important role we all play in building a more just and equitable society, to actively expose and eliminate racism and hatred in all forms, and to work every day through our words and through our actions to maintain a steady march toward a more perfect union.  

University offices will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I encourage you to take this opportunity to respond to King’s call to action by participating in a service activity (or two) and attending some the wonderful community events scheduled to honor the legacy of this extraordinary servant leader. Here are just a few taking place:

Movie Screenings and Discussions of “King in the Wilderness”

Sunday, Jan. 20, 1 p.m. in the UC Ballroom

Monday, Jan. 21, 1 p.m. at the Roxy Theater

These screenings are free and open to the public.

MLK Jr. Day Youth Rally

Monday, Jan. 21, 5 p.m. at Caras Park

The Youth Rally features perspectives on oppression and issues of equality. Young community leaders will highlight the power of youth leadership and community action to create systemic change. After the rally, participants are invited to march to St. Anthony Catholic Parish for a community social.

MLK Jr. Day Community Social

Monday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m. at St. Anthony Catholic Parish, 217 Tremont St.

Join and engage in dialogue about race and justice. Listen to an inspiring keynote address, guest musicians and an award ceremony for winners of the Youth Art and Essay Contest. UM alumnus, current Grizzlies running back coach and former NFL running back Justin Green will provide the keynote. Local musicians and artists will include Shawn Whitegrass, Brittney Hunter, Andre Floyd, Eden Atwood, Simone Fielding, Makenna Alick and a community choir directed by Dr. Christopher Hahn.

MLK Jr. Day Transportation from Campus

4-5 p.m.

ASUM buses will run in a continuous loop from the UM Music Building to Caras Park every 15 minutes.

5-6 p.m.

An ASUM bus will wait at Caras Park to transport those with mobility issues to St. Anthony’s.

8-10 p.m.

ASUM buses will run in a continuous loop from St. Anthony’s to the UM Music Building every 15 minutes.

Black Solidarity Summit

Saturday-Monday, Feb. 16-18, at the University of Montana

The Black Solidarity Summit will bring together representatives from Black Student Unions, African Student Associations, Black Studies programs and allies from around the Northwest to address issues of racial discrimination, political disenfranchisement, social organization and black academic enrollment.

Please visit the Facebook page or the Missoula MLK Day page, both of which are devoted to Missoula’s 2019 MLK Celebration.

On Monday and all year, join in the chorus of voices and collective action that honor the legacy of this great man.

Enjoy your weekend,