Hotchkiss honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., starting with an open forum on Sunday, Jan. 15 and a day-long celebration featuring speakers, performances, and community voices in Elfers Hall on Monday, Jan. 16.
The events kicked off on Sunday, Jan. 15, at a community meeting hosted by the Student-Faculty Council Committee for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity. Students and faculty members packed into an English double-classroom to discuss the progress of initiatives this year and future steps toward building a more inclusive environment on campus.
On Monday, Jan. 16, Gyasi Ross, a Blackfeet writer, attorney, and performer, delivered the keynote speech. In his address to the Hotchkiss community, Ross explained what he called "the spilled milk doctrine"— the idea that everyone should have a stake in addressing issues that concern the equality and well-being of others. "This generation is the first to hold previous generations accountable for their spilled milk," he said — whether it's climate change, systemic racism, or gender inequality. Ross urged students to use the power of a Hotchkiss education to make a difference in the world.
Later, both students and faculty took turns sharing personal experiences and reflections in Community Voices, a two-hour long program meant to encourage listening and foster understanding.
The day also included dance performances by Baye & Asa, a duo from New York City, and Studio8Sixty, a troupe from Hartford, Conn. Baye & Asa performed an piece about the relationships between the black and white male characters from the film The Birth of a Nation, answering questions at the end. Studio8Sixty energized the crowd with an exploration of jazz, soul, funk, pop, and hip hop music and dance. Student musical performances included the Hotchkiss Gospel Choir, the female a cappella group Calliope, and student soloists.
See a slideshow of the day's events below, featuring music by the Gospel Choir.
Listen to keynote speaker Gyasi Ross, and watch a performance by Baye & Asa.