November 9, 2021
Dear Members of the Notre Dame Community,
As many of you know, for the past six years the Notre Dame community has commemorated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a number of campus-wide events both on the day itself as well as during the week that follows, which we have come to call “Walk the Walk Week.” I write today to share our plans for 2022.
Thanks to a proposal originally developed by Student Government, I am pleased to announce that going forward, Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be a University holiday for students, faculty, and staff. This year, MLK Day falls on Monday, January 17, and we have designated January 17-23 as Walk the Walk Week.
So that we might all have the opportunity to honor Dr. King’s legacy on MLK Day in our own ways—by participating in a service project, attending events in the local community, worshipping in our faith communities, engaging in dialogue with friends and colleagues, or spending time with our families and loved ones—we will not plan any campus-wide observances that day. Thus, we will host the annual MLK Day candlelight prayer service in the Main Building Rotunda, an important campus tradition, on Tuesday, January 18 at 10:00 p.m.
During the week that follows MLK Day—Walk the Walk Week—I hope each of us will actively seek opportunities to reflect on how Notre Dame might become more inclusive and welcoming, to consider how we, individually and collectively, can be a force for good in the world in addressing racism and inequality wherever these evils exist. As a Catholic university, we recognize the dignity of every individual and strive to be a community in which each person can contribute and all can flourish, especially those who are most vulnerable. MLK Day and Walk the Walk Week provide opportunities for us to re-commit ourselves to these ideals.
Details will follow about a keynote event my office will sponsor during Walk the Walk Week. So that this might truly be a campus-wide conversation, we strongly encourage academic departments, campus units, and student groups to plan discussions or events that will invite reflection on the values that are so central both to Dr. King’s legacy and Notre Dame’s mission. If you are sponsoring an event that you would like to see publicized on the Walk the Walk Week website, please share the relevant information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, I am deeply grateful for your commitment to making the University an ever more inclusive community. Know of my prayers for you and your loved ones.
In Notre Dame,
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.