INTERVIEW: University of St. Thomas Racial Justice Initiative director shares ways to commemorate MLK Day

Updated: January 15, 2021 12:57 PM
Created: January 15, 2021 11:16 AM

Yohuru Williams, Ph.D., recently spoke with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS about ways to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as more than just a day off.

Williams—a Distinguished University Chair and professor and founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul—said that as the issues of systemic racism are confronted in the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day can provide an opportunity to pause, reflect and act.

Williams recommended the following ideas to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

  1. Watch a documentary that looks at the history of racial injustice or African American history.
  2. Read articles that help define systemic racism.
  3. Take part in the University of St. Thomas Student Diversity and Inclusion Services' 21-Day Challenge to help broaden the understanding of racial justice.
  4. Participate in a service project that specifically addresses housing or food insecurity.
  5. Support Black-owned businesses.
  6. Spend time in reflection with family.

"Spending time with one's family in reflection on issues of racial justice is important because it allows for family units to model concern for these issues and, through earnest dialogue and conversation to decide on and make a commitment to actions that can contribute to change," Williams said. "Just taking some quality family time to talk through the through the last year and develop a sense of clarity about what it means to take a stand for racial justice and equity can ultimately impact the way individuals show up in conversations about racial justice in other areas of their lives from the board room to the school yard, and at the polls. This is also essential to promoting real change."

Watch an interview with Williams via the video player above.

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