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Vassar Honors Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Six days after the 91st anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Vassar paid tribute to his memory in a very Vassar way. The more than 150 members of the Vassar community who attended the Second Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Breakfast embraced and acknowledged Dr. King’s belief that love and compassion should be the centerpiece of all human endeavor. The event, held in the Aula, was organized by the college’s seven administrative fellows.

Members of the Vassar community gathered in the Aula to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We come together this morning,” said Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices Samuel Speers in remarks at the opening of the event, “bearing our own undue separations, longing to live the ‘revolution of values’ King died trying to live and teach: We are one people, on one small planet, who must learn somehow, before it is too late, to face our racial history and live together in the demanding and joyful fullness of making peace.”

President Bradley congratulates Anna Belle Gadsden-Jones, Manager of Residential Operations, one of several 2020 MLK Service Award winners.

Three members of the Vassar community received the college’s 2020 MLK Service Awards for bringing compassion, inclusion, and equity to their daily work. Award winners were: Anna Belle Gadsden-Jones, Manager of Residential Operations; Kathleen Bell, Executive Assistant for the Dean of the College; and Michelle Ransom, Director of Student Activities and The College Center.

Other nominees for the award were: Lisa Kaul, Director of Community-Engaged Learning; Andrew Meade, Director of International Services and Assistant Dean of Student Growth and Engagement; Majlinda Bardhi, Cashier in the Retreat; Elizabeth Vespe, Cashier in Gordon Commons; Capria Berry, Director of the Transitions Program; Brenda Vasquez-Tavarez, Administrative Assistant in the Dean of the College area; LaTasha Smith, Staff Therapist, and Sharon Parkinson, Senior Analyst in Alumnae/i Affairs and Development.

Left: Luis Inoa, Associate Dean of the College for Residential Life and Wellness, was the featured speaker at the breakfast. The event was organized by Vassar’s administrative fellows, shown right: Samantha Hoher ’18, Lilly Berman ’18, Tamar Ballard ’18, Elaina Peterkin ’18, Rori Chuck ’18, Ezra Weissman ’18, and Brian Hong ’18.

The importance of honoring the value Dr. King placed on love, compassion, and family was reinforced in an interactive address by Luis Inoa, Associate Dean of the College for Residential Life and Wellness. Inoa asked all of those in attendance to take out their cell phones and share photos of their families with the person next to them. Then, drawing on an exercise he had taken part in at a recent event hosted by Vassar’s Engaged Pluralism Initiative, Inoa asked everyone to recite the phrase, “The more I love you, the more I learn.” The Aula reverberated with this phrase.

“Thank you for hearing, for seeing, for holding me, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and each other,” Inoa told those assembled. “May we continue to gather, to break bread, reflect, and most importantly, to love.”