MLK Keynote Encourages Post-Election Dialogues

Emory & Henry students were welcomed home this semester with the college’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, which showcased five days of forums, lyceums, movie screenings, performances and more. The main MLK Day event took place on Jan.

The main MLK Day event took place on Jan. 18, when Dean John Holloway presented his Keynote Address in the McGlothlin Center for the Arts. Holloway is the newly appointed Vice President for Student Life and Student Success and Dean of Inclusion at Emory & Henry.

Holloway’s address, which was titled as “Echoes of Divisiveness Need Not Define Our Community: Encouraging Intergroup Dialogues to Heal Brokenness… an Aftermath of a Polarizing Presidential Election,” took a look at Martin Luther King Jr.’s lasting influence in the world today, and considered how King might react to current events.

“Nearly 50 years after his death, how would King feel about the state of racial relations? How would he feel about worker’s rights? […] How would he respond to the elections we just endured?” Holloway asked. The 2016 presidential election was referenced several times in Holloway’s address, and it remained a key point as he discussed how polarized the election had become for people.

“My personal fear is that the election has struck wounds, that if left untreated, may get infected,” Holloway said. For Holloway, the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election is an opportunity to rebuild and regrow relationships with those that we disagree with—both around the country and on campus.

Josh Von Castle, Area Coordinator and Director of Student Activities, shared his own response to Holloway’s Keynote Address. “What we’ve seen in the country is a divisiveness, but it’s been paralleled and echoed on our campus. I think he [Holloway] is very right in stating what we believe […] any meaningful work that we do begins and ends with conversations with each other, talking about the things that we share but also about the things that are different. What he said was spot-on,” said Castle.

Emaly Allison, a sophomore at E&H, was one of many students in attendance at the early morning Address. “I felt his [Holloway’s] comments were on point, especially his comments about making seeds of change and creating change within our community. That’s definitely what’s needed right now, and I do feel that what he [Holloway] is wanting to do with the IDP program is going to be great for the school and great for the community.”

– Orion Rummler

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