Invitation to Participate in Teach the Speech 2021

December 2020

Dear Georgetown Faculty and Staff,

This year, Georgetown University’s MLK: “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 vision of a beloved community, we encourage all members of the university to reflect on urgent problems that demand social action.

Georgetown’s events honoring the legacy of Dr. King are highlighted by a program honoring our annual John Thompson, Jr. Legacy of a Dream Awardee. This year’s awardee is Christopher Bradshaw, founder and Executive Director of Dreaming Out Loud, a food justice social enterprise focusing on the development of healthy, equitable food systems.Virtual events will continue through the month of February, celebration of Black History Month, and the rest of the semester. 

In the last eight 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), “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” (2017), “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” (2018), “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution” (2019), and “Where do we go from here?” (2020) in their courses and educational spaces.

This year, the Provost’s Office encourages faculty and staff to “Teach the Speech” and incorporate Dr. King’s 1965 speech entitled “Our God is Marching On” (text / audio) during the Spring 2021 semester. In honor of the late Congressman John Lewis, and in recognition of the pivotal role of students in the Civil Rights movement and current fight for racial justice, we also offer his unedited speech from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (text / audio), given when he was head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Commit your course or unit to “Teach the Speech” in Spring 2021. On this same form, you can also RSVP for the Teach the Speech Teach-In, a virtual gathering and event scheduled for Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 11:30am via Zoom, co-hosted by the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), Center for Social Justice (CSJ), and Division of Student Affairs.  

The Teach-In will feature three mini-keynote addresses and be followed by a facilitated Q&A and dialogue among our three speakers. Our keynote speakers will offer remarks on the context of the United States at the time that Dr. King and Congressman Lewis offered their speeches and their reflections for today as they relate to racial justice. Our first keynote speaker is Fatima Dyfan (C’21), a senior majoring in Government and African-American Studies with a minor in Theatre Performance Studies and former Executive Producer of the Black Theatre Ensemble. Our second invited guest is Michael Collins who served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Lewis for over twenty years. Our third speaker is Aderson B. Francois, Georgetown Law Professor and Director of the Institute for Public Representation Civil Rights Law Clinic.

We invite all Georgetown faculty and staff to commit time within their unit, office, or program to read and reflect on Dr. King’s and Congressman Lewis’ speeches 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 safe and healthy holiday season,

Robert M. Groves