Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan 13, 2023

Dr. King’s impact was felt nationwide, but especially at the local level, in thousands of communities across the country. I point this out because I want everyone in the Madera Community College family to know that we all have the opportunity and responsibility to be positive forces right here in our community. Where an injustice exists, we owe it to ourselves, our family, our neighbors, and our community to call it out and work towards change.

Beginning in December 1955, Dr. King led a 381-day boycott against the Montgomery, Alabama city bus system to protest a local law that forced African American riders to sit in the back half of its buses. The protest quickly gained momentum, as 40,000 Blacks in Montgomery united to boycott the bus system. To maintain the success of the boycott, local Black leaders helped organize carpools and convinced Black taxi drivers to give discounted fares to their Black passengers, charging the same amount of money as it cost to ride a bus.

In November 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that overturned Montgomery’s law that required segregated bus seating, and the following month, Black passengers and all riders of color could sit anywhere they wanted on public buses.

During your time here at Madera Community College and after you leave us to continue your education or further your career, it’s my expectation that each of you will find opportunities to create change in our community and be a voice against injustice.

In 1947, while attending Morehouse College, Dr. King wrote a column titled The Purpose of Education” in the school’s newspaper. In it, King highlights the importance of obtaining an education, but also the responsibilities that come to college students once they earn degrees and gain new skills.

He wrote: “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.”

The “worthy objectives” that Dr. King wrote about then is a challenge to all of us today to use our knowledge and skills to lift up and help others in our community. When you earn a degree or certificate, or gain a new skill, I encourage you to remember the people that helped you along your journey, and it’s my hope that you’ll return that investment and help others in our community.

Here is a list of some Martin Luther King Jr. Day events taking place across the Central Valley. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead and I look forward to seeing you back on campus next week!


Peace and Unity,
Ángel Reyna, Ed.D.

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