Celebrating Diversity

The annual Martin Luther King commemoration, which honors the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., took place right as the spring semester began and was a great way to gather the community in celebration of diversity. The event this year was centered on the ongoing fight for educational justice and featured guest speaker Ruby Bridges.

In the historical Woolsey Hall, rows of seats were packed with Yale students and faculty as well as members of the New Haven community. The event started off with some speeches by President Salovey, announcing the progress on the Building Bridges initiative and celebrating diversity during his time as president where Yale has expanded its first-gen low-income (FGLI) student body.

Shades of Yale welcoming the talk
Amazing atmospheric music

Later on, we were graced with Shades of Yale’s presence where they performed a touching acapella performance. Then, Ruby Bridges came on along with Dr. William (Billy) Johnson, who is a Director of Educational Strategy at the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund in Connecticut and was interviewed by Stephanie Owusu, a senior at Yale. It was great hearing her original perspective that resulted in the infamous picture of her walking down the stairs surrounded by National Guards. Everyone is familiar with the context of the photo, but her internal dialogue through the years was extremely empowering as she talked through her slow recognition of racism and her perseverance through it.

During Black History Month at Yale, it is important to recognize the importance of history in shaping Yale and celebrating diversity. This was a great event that brings together the greater New Haven community, embedding Yale further into the ecosystem.