Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 18, 2021

​“It has never been more important or appropriate to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor his memory by working every day to ensure that the causes of equity, diversity, and inclusion overwhelm the dark forces of ignorance, racism, and violence. The lessons Dr. King provided about achieving justice and equality through nonviolent protest remain as relevant today as when he was alive.

Colleges and universities and our students across the country are joining in today’s celebration of Dr. King’s life through a myriad of activities, from seminars and dialogues to finding ways even during this pandemic of engaging in the day of service that is an integral part of this commemoration. Democracy is synonymous with strong communities, and higher education must play a vital role in fostering a flourishing democracy and a civically engaged citizenry.

Yet violence remains an undercurrent in our nation, too often motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, and fear of “the other.” Even the idea of this violence creates a sense of fear and intimidation. We must remember the example of Dr. King and rise against violence and ideologies of hate and intolerance.

What we witnessed at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was nothing short of a violent attack on our democracy on a very sad day in our country’s history. The horrendous scene that day is a stark reminder of the important role that our colleges and universities have in helping our nation address the critical issues of our time. The importance of civic engagement, civil discourse, and ongoing work towards social equity are all rooted deeply in our shared humanity and to the causes for which Dr. King stood. As we chart a path forward in the battle against COVID-19, the struggle for racial equity and justice, and the need to rebuild a devastated economy, it is worth remembering Dr. King’s sixth and concluding principle of nonviolence: The universe is on the side of justice.”​

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