July 12, 2024

On Jan. 20, the Wittenberg community welcomed civil rights attorney and activist Maya Wiley to the 31st Annual Wittenberg Series commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The title of her speech was “Race to Democracy: The Beloved Community in the 21st Century.”  It was widely received with different views and opinions around the campus.
Nick Schnieder said that “while he wasn’t a big fan of the speech” he thinks “by mentioning things such as Trayvon Martin and turning it into a race case when it was just a murder case is what is driving racism to continue in the world.”
However, freshman Katie Shanor agreed with the speaker by saying “the speech made people aware that we still need to get past racism and that Dr. King’s dream has not fully been completed yet but were on the road towards completion.”
Maya Wiley is the Founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion(CSI) located in New York City, New York. Her foundation works towards pinpointing racial inequalities and making policy changes.
“This day we don’t just commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but we strive for away to rededicate ourselves to his vision of a beloved community” said Maya Wiley.
She spoke about Dr. King’s vision of America being a “beloved community” where segregation isn’t an issue, but a place where everyone is integrated among different races.
While the decision wasn’t made by Concerned Black Students (CBS) to bring Speaker Maya Wiley to Wittenberg, CBS leaders said, “that as a campus choosing Wiley to speak was the right decision and a step in the right direction towards affecting positive change on campus.”
Later that day, while she was traveling to the airport, Wiley spoke regarding expectations of her parents. “My parents, my mother and my father, both had graduate degrees,” she said. But they never told her she had to get a graduate degree herself.
In her speech, she discussed implicit and explicit racism among other items as well as their differences. She stated that both still exists today, but since President Obama’s election in 2008 explicit racism as increased. Wiley says, “implicated racism is when subconscious thoughts affect people’s attitudes and actions toward other races.”
She ended her convocation speech by saying, “Hope is a passion for what is possible. I have hope that America will continue to become a beloved community.”
CBS leaders said they really enjoyed Wiley’s speech, but the biggest enjoyment was that “she talked about what the beloved community and what it was.”
While Speaker Wiley and her speech generated many different opinions and views on campus, the journey for Dr. King’s vision of a more “beloved community” is still a movement of change in progress that will one day come to fruition.

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