In a day of remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a wide array of feelings and emotions surround us as we deal with multiple layers of pandemics impacting our country and the world.
Past and present images of civil and human rights struggles, racial intolerance and inequity, healthcare inequity, bigotry and systemic racism remind us that these are but a few of the ongoing challenges requiring critical plans of action in addressing the issues.
Written on a hallway wall in the Ayotte Center at Thomas College is one of the inspirational quotes from Dr. King stating that, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
How many members of our community stop to read these words, and reflect upon the deeper meaning imbedded in the passage? What is the importance of these thoughts and ideas in our work and daily lives? What is the nature of the relationship between thinking intensively and thinking critically?
The legacy of Dr. King is a testimony to perseverance, tenacity, and compassion. This was illustrated in numerous acts of courage and determination, and a dogged belief that fear is overcome by knowledge, understanding, engagement and education.
Coretta Scott King stated, “the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” These are powerful words from another critical voice of the King family that involve a collective responsibility in moving forward for change. We can learn much from their voices as a community of educators and learners — thoughts and ideas that reflect the necessity in working together to make a difference.
Dr. Richard L. Biffle
Professor of Education and Anthropology