Martin Luther King Jr. Day message

Dear Cornell Community:

On Monday, January 19, Cornell University once again will join the nation in celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In so doing, we honor the life and legacy of one of the great figures in modern American history.

This year, with issues of race still on so many of our minds as a result of events in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City and elsewhere, it is especially appropriate that we remember Dr. King, who did so much to promote equality of opportunity, social justice, and respect for human dignity.

A variety of events to honor Dr. King are planned for this weekend and Monday. Tomorrow's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast in the Beverly J. Martin (BJM) Elementary School Gym, for example, will feature music, poetry, food, and remarks by Marcia Fort, who is retiring as director of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center after more than 25 years of superb leadership and service to our community. Cornell's Office of Community Relations will receive the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker Award at the breakfast. Breakfast is served from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and the program runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. BJM is located at 302 W. Buffalo St. in downtown Ithaca.

On Monday, January 19, there will be a free Martin Luther King Jr. Day Luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m., again in the BJM Gym, sponsored by various organizations at Cornell, Ithaca College and in the local community. The luncheon will feature remarks by actor and director Godfrey Simmons and a performance by the Honey Child Soul Quintet.

Monday evening at 7 p.m., Cornell's Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives is hosting a night of "artivism" featuring Climbing PoeTree in G10 Biotechnology Building, 526 Campus Road, and at 7:30 p.m., the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, which includes several members of the Cornell community, will perform a concert in honor of Martin Luther King Day in Ford Hall at Ithaca College.

However you choose to spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I hope you will take some time to remember Dr. King and to reflect on how each of us and all of us can advance the values he stood for in our own lives and in the communities we share.

Let me also take this opportunity to welcome everyone back for the start of the spring semester. Happy New Year to all.

David J. Skorton