Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism.
The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Tucker Center hosts multi-faith celebration honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ceremony featured five student speakers representing different faith groups on campus and was followed by a keynote address given by Native American studies professor Bruce Duthu.

1-29-24-alesandragonzales-MLKlookback.jpg

On Jan. 25, the William Jewett Tucker Center hosted a community multi-faith celebration at Rollins Chapel in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event, which began at 5 p.m., featured speeches from various student leaders and faith groups, performances by the Dartmouth Gospel Choir and a keynote address by Native American and Indigenous studies professor Bruce Duthu.

The event was co-sponsored by the Office of Community Life and Inclusivity, the Native American Program and the Office of Pluralism and Leadership. 

Dartmouth Student Government president Jessica Chiriboga ’24 launched the celebration by reading the College’s land acknowledgement.

“As Dartmouth Student Government, we welcome and celebrate the opportunity to acknowledge the [impact] that Dr. King has had on this campus, but also on so many people across the nation,” Chiraboga said in an interview before the event. “As a leader, I have definitely looked to Dr. King’s teachings in my own leadership journey, and I am really excited to hear from various students tonight on how Dr. King has inspired their own journey, not only in their leadership, but in their faith.”

College President Sian Beilock, who was also in attendance, said in an interview before the event that she was excited to hear from the student speakers and to have the opportunity to celebrate with the community.

“I love that we can come together as a community, and it’s time to take a step back and to reflect on our past and think about how we can have a better future,” Beilock said.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Dartmouth chapter president Anthony Fosu ’24 gave the first student reflection speech and discussed the importance of King’s Baptist faith to his teachings.

“As I contemplated what I might share in the short time I have with you tonight, I thought about what Dr. King would’ve thought about the state of our country today,” Fosu said. “It would be dishonest, or at the very least incomplete, to reflect on the life of Dr. King without reflecting on the faith that he formed his life and work.”

Fosu was followed by Oumiekhari Fatty-hydara ’27, a member of the Al-Nur Muslim Student Association. Fatty-hydara reflected on Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which she used as inspiration to speak on dreams of her own.

“It is 2024 and I, too, have a dream,” she said. “I have a dream where my brothers and sisters of humanity in places like Palestine, Congo, Sudan, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and so many other places won’t be the victims of senseless suffering and death.”

Representing Shanti, the College’s Hindu student group, Arjun Anand ’26 read excerpts from King’s memoir, “Stride Toward Freedom.” Anand focused on the chapter “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” in which King reflects upon the ways his thinking, leadership and approach to nonviolent resistance were influenced by Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi. 

After Anand, Adam Salzman ’24, a member of the College’s Jewish community, gave a speech in which he shared a memory of a time where he was able to share a freshly baked challah — a bread of Ashkenazi Jewish origin — with his two roommates. He said that the physical act of breaking bread together was symbolic of a larger message of peace and community between people of different demographics and denominations.

The student reflections were concluded by Achla Gandhi ’25, who said that King’s value of nonviolent living is important to her because it is shared by the faith she practices, Jainism.

“Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, may seem worlds apart from Jainism on paper,” she said. “But … Martin Luther King embodied the Jain way of life when he championed the equality of all men. He lived the Jain way of life when he chose compassion over an easily justified anger, and when he saw weakness in violence and the power in peace.”

Duthu was introduced by College chaplain and Tucker Center director Rev. Nancy Vogele ’85. Duthu’s keynote address, “From the Mountaintop: Dr. King’s Call for a Dangerous Unselfishness,” featured personal anecdotes from Duthu’s experiences growing up in a segregated Louisiana. He told the biblical story of the good samaritan and used it to demonstrate the need for a “dangerous unselfishness” amongst the people of the world.

“If you’ve ever looked at a quilt, you see the underside all knotted, all the threads — it’s a mess,” Duthu said. “That’s [humanity]. But … if you come on the other side, and you see the top of the quilt, and you see the mosaic, you see the design, you see the beauty — that’s a glimpse of the promised land. There is differentiation, but there is wholeness.”

A candle lighting ceremony, a Hindu prayer recited by Avijit Singh ’26 and the Dartmouth Gospel Choir’s performance of “We Shall Overcome” followed Duthu’s speech to conclude the celebration.