The 2014 MLK Humanitarian Award recipients participated in a panel discussion with Dr. Dennis Slaughter and author Sharon Ewell Foster on Jan. 29, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Salt Lake Community College Associate Professor Joshua Gold, SLCC Director of Public Relations Joy Tlou and Granite School District Director for Educational Equity Charlene Lui were this year’s award winners.
Sharon Ewell Foster discusses her journey to the “Beloved Community”
Dennis Slaughter talks about how family photos are related to seeing yourself in a place
Joy Tlou talks about King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and what it said
Josh Gold talks about the origins of the vision of the “Beloved Community”
The panel was asked about what Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community” means to them and the obstacles to bringing it about.
“[We need] a community where people are going to have open, honest and frank discussions with each other,” says Slaughter.
According to Slaughter, communities need to create the same safe atmosphere for conversation that occurs in many families, where people may fight and disagree, but in the end, everyone feels safe because the other person will love them regardless.
People can feel superior and hurt each other outside of the “Beloved Community.”
“There’s a payoff for not being a member of the ‘Beloved Community,’” says Foster.
For the “Beloved Community” to work, people have to love each other; they have to love their friends, family and their enemies. They have to love those who hurt them.
“Love is a hard word,” says Foster.
To move toward the “Beloved Community,” Foster suggests that people read about the history of the U.S., and King and his legacy. People also need to be creative about solutions and have tough conversations.
Gold wants people to realize that “all forms of oppression have costs for everybody.”
Progress has been made in Utah for diversity education.
“Every college here has a diversity curricular initiative,” says Gold.
Those initiatives have come under fire as unneeded.
“Whatever gains we’ve made are fragile. They have to be guarded with vigilance,” says moderator Dr. John McCormick. “We can’t assume that once we’ve won something, we’ve won it once and for all.”