“I have a dream” is one of the most recognizable quotes in modern American history. While parts of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream might have come to fruition, inequity still runs rampant in the United States. Similar to the time of the Civil Rights Movement, we are facing a time in which our country is divided once again on issues that disproportionately and negatively impact BIPOC communities including police reform, voting rights, health care, environmental conservation, and many others. While Black people can now vote, voter suppression greatly impacts their ability to exercise this right; While segregation is illegal, neighborhoods and schools are still incredibly segregated; the list goes on. While there has been progress, we have not yet achieved MLK’s dream of equity and prosperity for all at a foundational level, but rather have just scratched the surface. 

We ask our audience, campus, and greater community critically examine how little has actually changed since the Civil Rights Movement. With Gen-Z and Millennial generations at the forefront of this new wave of social disruption in the name of racial, economic, and social justice, question 1) how and why our current institutional structures continue to leave behind historically marginalized communities, 2) what can we learn from the Civil Rights Movement to close these gaps between the privileged and historically marginalized that King sought to change and 3) how we can use our radical imagination and community building to address these obstacles. 

Our theme this year calls upon our Concordia Community and beyond to confront and acknowledge the amount of work that King called us to do that has yet to be completed in a way that produces equitable outcomes for all. While our history books write as if King’s focus was primarily on the rights of Black Americans, he sought to recognize and address the intersections of all forms of oppression. As King stated “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality." We must learn from these words and recognize that there are people of all marginalized identities who are still suffering under oppressive and harmful powers; these other marginalized identities include but are not limited to LBTQ+ individuals, people with different abilities, immigrants, and low-income folks. We must recognize that these injustices are all intertwined and only benefit the few. By acknowledging and understanding these connections, we find that we are all trying to achieve the same dream, that same dream that King spoke of. 

This year’s MLK Day Student Planning Committee was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speech and its connections to today’s social unrest led by younger generations and was thus integrated into this year’s theme. Upon reflecting on the above, the MLK Day Student Planning Committee has selected “Daring to Dream: The Radical Imagination of a New Generation” as the theme for the upcoming 2022 MLK Day.