Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

Dear UNT Community,

On Monday, we will honor the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a day for community celebration, service, and reflection.

The King Center designated this year's holiday theme as “The urgency of creating the beloved community,” and as our nation attempts to heal from the recent attacks on our democracy and freedom and as we begin to find a path out of our current pandemic, this theme is timely and necessary. To commemorate Dr. King and his timeless teachings, I hope each of us pauses to ask how we can shape a better future for ourselves and our community.

Dr. King's message of hope and love, of a community where all people are valued, respected, and treated with dignity rings as true today as it did 60 years ago. In 1965, when Dr. King became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, he spoke of “unarmed truth and unconditional love.” You can learn more about his philosophy and six principles of nonviolence at the King Center.

I hope you will take time to virtually join UNT's annual MLK Day of Service; please register for the event here. This year's event features keynote speaker Clint Smith via Zoom and is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18.

I know there is still a great deal of work for me and our entire community to do in order for UNT to be its best. We aspire to fight racism and promote justice for all, but it takes all of us working together to achieve our goals. As challenging as the last year has been for all of us, it also has inspired difficult, necessary conversations and very real progress. In the spirit of Dr. King, let's keep the conversation alive and commit to making our UNT community a place that celebrates equity all year long.

Sincerely, Neal Smatresk UNT President