The following is a transcript of University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.'s, reflection at the University's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Luncheon on Jan. 23.
Professor Luis Fraga’s beautiful reflection reminded us that Dr. Martin Luther King was not just the leader of a movement for political and social reform. He was at his core a pastor who challenged us morally and spiritually. That is why his life, his words, and his actions are so important for us at Notre Dame, where we reverence both faith and reason, strive to live with moral purpose, and cultivate habits of true service.
Our efforts for a more diverse and inclusive community are guided by a few key principles, which you will find on cards at your place:
- We respect the dignity of every person regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious tradition, or anything else from conception to natural death;
- We all contribute to the common good, the conditions that enable every individual to flourish;
- And we live in solidarity with all people, and particularly the most vulnerable.
Make no mistake: These commitments are not a nod to political correctness nor to some passing fashion. They are not imposed on us from the outside. They emerge, rather, from the very heart of Notre Dame’s mission and history. As our mission statement says, our “aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as leaning becomes service to justice.”
Our Principles of Diversity and Inclusion are part of what define us as a Notre Dame community. We are ND only if we are guided by them.
Our task today is to take a further step on the walk to realizing these ideals more fully.
Let us walk that walk together.
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.