Dean's Message - January 17, 2022

Reflections on Martin Luther King, Jr
Jaharis Building in the spring

Dear GSBS Community,

I hope yesterday provided an opportunity to reflect on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. A new memorial sculpture, “The Embrace,” was unveiled last Friday on the Boston Common. This piece by renowned black artist Hank Willis Thomson pays tribute to Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, who met at our sister institution, Boston University. It depicts their interlocking arms as they hugged after King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. “The Embrace” celebrates their love as well as equity, inclusion, belonging and justice.

I recall as a child when Dr. King was assassinated less than four years after this event. His brutal killing was a fearful moment and a time of mourning and uncertainty. While I do not know what it is to be black or a descendant of enslaved persons in this country, I do know what it is to be discriminated against and fearful. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King have been an inspiration to me, reminding me that as we stand up for justice, sometimes in fear, we are not alone. We are strengthened by our relationships to one another. As we do our own DEIJ work, let us be inspired by this sculpture and those to whom it pays tribute, and remember the strength of those who struggled before us.

Dan Jay, Dean