This weekend I was fortunate to share a meal with community leaders at the Arlington Martin Luther King, Jr. “Advancing the Dream” Awards Banquet. We came together to not only honor an incredible civil rights leader, but to present awards and scholarships to deserving individuals making a difference in their fields.
I also had the privilege of welcoming banquet guests to the UTA campus and inspiring words from Dr. King:
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Inspiring words from a tremendous leader of men and the person whose legacy we celebrate today - Martin Luther King, Jr., that have special relevance to all of us as we recognize that the violence and hate that appear to fill the news do not represent solutions and that mutual respect and love are the only way forward to a better tomorrow.
Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 27th Annual Arlington Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Its also an honor for me to do this on behalf of the more than 50,000 students at the University of Texas at Arlington – the fifth most diverse national university and an institution that is rapidly rising to the highest tiers of research universities.
Tonight we are here to not just honor the past – which we do with great humility – but to commit to accelerating our efforts so that the future will be even brighter. That is what it means to “advance the dream” – it is an activation of our shared vision for our city, our community and each one of its citizens.
This is exactly what we are doing at UT Arlington. With deference to the past, we are energized about where this great University, and this wonderful city, is heading. I can say without hesitation that this is an institution of unlimited opportunities and boundless potential. It is an institution that in the last year has received innumerable plaudits, and one where we recommit ourselves to the fulfillment of dreams of equality and achievement, of big ideas and strong visions, on the shoulders of our alumni and through the hands and minds of our dedicated faculty and staff. We build the future through dedication to advancing the dream, the dream that each of our students has to be the very best they can be, and for being enablers and facilitators for a vision that ensures that dreams can, and will, come true. One student at a time, one person at a time, we enrich our community, and in doing so, build a better tomorrow for all.
Dr. King exhorted:
“If you can't fly, run. If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.”
Let's keep moving, let's fly as high as we can, let's reach for the stars - let’s dream together, work together, chart bold directions, and attain levels of excellence that others did not even dare to dream of. This will ensure that we advance the dream, making it a reality for all people, wherever they come from, and wherever they might be at this point in time. Love, grace, service and respect – let's remember these tonight and in the days to come.