Honoring MLK and celebrating our differences

two women sit in chairs on a stage
Brenau's Dr. Madia Cooper-Ashirifi, left, talks with guest Dr. Regina N. Bradley.

Last week, I had the honor to speak at Brenau’s annual winter convocation to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The theme was Chronicling Struggle and Progress, and I appreciate the hard work of everyone involved in that event.

We were delighted to have Dr. Regina N. Bradley join us for a conversation about her research on southern Black life and hip-hop and her experiences growing up in Albany, Georgia. I’m appreciative to faculty member Dr. Madia Cooper-Ashirifi, who brought this scholar to campus. I also wish to thank the Black Faculty and Staff Association for their work in bringing together all the wonderful aspects of the event.

Dr. Bradley, an associate professor at Kennesaw State University, views her job as a faculty member is to challenge students to see the world through different perspectives. As university president and an educator who has also had the good fortune of teaching at Brenau, I couldn’t agree more.

I found it especially relevant when she challenged students that their understanding of the world when they graduate should be different from their perceptions when they first began their college journey.

As Brenau leans into our mission of preparing students to live extraordinary lives and to lead in their communities with passion and wisdom, we aim to help each student develop those skills of critical thinking.

Dr. Bradley’s messages of celebrating our differences and appreciating them also struck a chord with me. Our strength at Brenau comes from our diversity, and we are continuing our endeavor to foster an inclusive community where every person is seen, heard and believed.

Led by Dr. Margie Gill, executive director of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives, it is an intentional part of the university’s strategic plan to celebrate the differences among us and learn from each other. We seek to nurture an ethos of belonging across our university, and I encourage you to be a part of those efforts.

Thank you for all you do to support Brenau, and read my blog to learn more about what’s happening at the university.