December 2017

Dear Georgetown Faculty and Staff,

This year, Georgetown University's “Let Freedom Ring!” Initiative honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will provide the opportunity to continue the conversations on our campus about our capacity to bring about social change. Guided by Dr. King's April 3, 1968 speech, “I’ve been to the mountaintop,” we encourage all members of the university to reflect on urgent problems that demand social action, with the hashtag #LetGURiseUp.

Georgetown’s events honoring the legacy of Dr. King are highlighted by this year’s “Let Freedom Ring!” Celebration at the Kennedy Center and the spotlight on this year’s John Thompson, Jr. Legacy of a Dream Awardee, Steve Park, of Little Lights Urban Ministries. Events continue through the month of February and celebration of Black History Month and the rest of the semester. A growing event calendar with details will be published next week and shared via broadcast email.

In the last five years, diverse faculty and staff across the University have participated in a cross-campus curricular initiative by teaching Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (2013), about the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (2014), Dr. King’s “The Other America” speech (2015), his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech (2016), and “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” (2017), in their courses.

This year, the Provost’s Office encourages faculty to “Teach the Speech” and assign Dr. King's speech - “I’ve been to the mountaintop” (original text) (webpage) (audio) - in their courses anytime during the Spring 2018 semester. Commit your course or unit to “Teach the Speech” in Spring 2018.

On the form, you can also RSVP for the Teach the Speech Teach-In, a lunch and half-day teaching workshop, on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 from 11:30am-3:00pm in Copley Formal, co-hosted by the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) and Center for Social Justice (CSJ).

The session will feature a keynote address by Clarence E. Hardy III Ph.D., Associate Professor of the History of American Christianity at Yale Divinity School. Dr. Hardy will speak on the context of the United States at the time that Dr. King gave this speech and its implications for today. Faculty will provide reflections on their classroom experiences with Dr. King’s speech. Following the Q&A, CSJ and CNDLS will facilitate a working session for faculty and staff on how to intentionally incorporate the speech and/or report in the classroom and campus spaces and what issues to consider when doing so. Further resources for teaching the speech can be found here.

We invite all Georgetown faculty and staff to commit time within their unit, office, or program to read and reflect on Dr. King’s speech with their colleagues and students. We invite members of the Main, Medical, Law, and Qatar campus communities to join in this effort.

With best wishes for a productive conclusion to this fall semester,

Bob Groves