On what would have been the 80th birthday of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nyack College honors the dream and the dreamer in the best possible demonstration of people united to something greater than themselves.
As a prelude to the King holiday, Nyack welcomed Rockland County legislators, educators, officials, faculty, staff, and community residents to the campus to for its annual Social Justice Day luncheon. Veteran civil rights activist Rev. Dr. Richard Deats, a biographer of the slain civil rights leader (Martin Luther, King, Jr.: Spirit-led Prophet,) was the keynote speaker. Dr. Deats is a former executive director of Fellowship of Reconciliation, the nation’s largest and oldest interfaith peace organization and staunch proponent of nonviolence. He reminded the audience of an aphorism recently coined that captures America’s current climate: “Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk…Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama is running so our children CAN FLY.”
Further threading the day’s event to Dr. King and to the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, the recipient of Nyack’s Kingdom Justice award was Rockland County Human Rights Commissioner, Dr. S. Ram Nagubundi. As commissioner, Dr. Nagubandi investigates complaints of discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodations. The Ph.D. in chemistry worked with Nobel Laureate, Sir Derek Barton, at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, in London, UK. He currently serves on the boards of Leadership Rockland, United Way, and other civic organizations.
Nyack College, represented by Earl Miller, Executive Director of Community Relations, linked arms with several community organizations and churches to make Monday, January 19, 2009 a day of service. Nyack students, faculty, and staff will be involved in a variety of activities—serving breakfast to Rockland County residents at St. Charles A.M.E. church, manning tables at Riverspace events, assisting People to People and West St. Day Care Center and attending an annual commemorative interfaith service at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Nyack. The day concludes with a jazz concert at Riverspace Nyack.
Nyack’s five core values—academically excellent, globally engaged, intentionally diverse, personally transforming and socially relevant—are fundamental to the institution’s legacy of service, which has prevailed since 1882. Today these values could not be more relevant and or more vital to our nation and to the world.