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TCU 360

TCU News Now: an update on Super Tuesday, the warm temperatures to come and TCU Athletics
TCU News Now: an update on Super Tuesday, the warm temperatures to come and TCU Athletics
By News Now Staff
Published Mar 4, 2024

  Take a look back at last week's episode: https://tcu360.com/2024/02/28/tcu-news-now-a-new-warning-about-an-armed-prowler-wildfires-ravage-the-texas-panhandle-and-first-time-voters/

Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosts annual Martin Luther King, Jr. luncheon

Haylee Chiariello
Michael Waters, Ph.D., shared a message focused on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 24 in the Brown-Lupton University Union ballroom. (Haylee Chiariello/Staff Writer)

Nearly 40 years since the nation began celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a Dallas pastor reminded those attending TCU’s annual Martin Luther King luncheon of the civil rights leader’s advocacy efforts.

Ahead of Black History Month programming, the TCU Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted award-winning author and recognized civil rights activist Michael Waters, Ph.D., as the luncheon’s keynote speaker.

A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Waters is known in Dallas-Fort Worth for his voice in the community as the lead pastor of Abundant Life African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Waters discussed how King’s vision extended beyond traditional boundaries, reaching political forums.  

“King did not just promote cosmetic change, but policy change,” Waters said.

When discussing how King stood against specific challenges and inequities, the speaker highlighted King’s views on wrongs in society.

“In life, King was radically opposed to the tripartite evils of poverty, racism and militarism,” Waters said.

Attendees were directed to a personal call to action offered by King.

“Dr. King declared the time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total direct and immediate abolition of poverty,” Waters said. 

By focusing on King’s legacy, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosts these types of events to demonstrate their intentional efforts to promote inclusivity.

“It’s really about doing the commitment and doing the work,” said Natalia Dominguez, graduate assistant at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “We have a mission and making sure that we are creating the events that support what we’re saying we’re doing.”

Waters spoke with attendees and signed copies of his book “For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World” after the Jan. 24 luncheon. (Haylee Chiariello)

For some attendees, this event led to personal reflection on campus history and influential leaders. Deb Welch, admissions associate at Brite Divinity School, considered Vada Phillips Felder, the first Black graduate from Brite Divinity School, who played a monumental role in bringing Martin Luther King Jr. to Fort Worth.

“Our first Black graduate from Brite Divinity School was Vada,” Welch said. “When nobody else in the area would give MLK a platform, when nobody else would house him, our student Vada found a house for him and his entourage and found a place for him to speak from.”

Waters recognized that TCU has shown “great courage” by having open conversations about “some of the challenges that are before us today.”

“I want to commend TCU as an institution not only for upholding an office of inclusion but also making sure these events are made available to the entire student body and campus at large,” Waters said.

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Waters shared his hope for the Horned Frog community.

“My dream for TCU is the same dream for I have every institution, every community that I am a part of, which is that we would be a part of bending the moral arc of the universe towards justice,” Waters said.

He explained the importance of individual contributions.

“Each one of us has a role in bending that arc because it doesn’t bend itself,” Waters said. “If TCU is bending the arc while other communities of goodwill are doing the same, then I believe we will ultimately arrive at the beloved community.”

TCU will continue to host Black History Month programming throughout the month of February.

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