By Damon Markiewicz

Springfield College Vice President for Inclusion and Community Engagement Calvin Hill, left, and Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq.

Springfield College hosted its 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, welcoming guest lecturer Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq to the campus. Arnwine is president and founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition in Washington, D.C., and she recapped current justice battles for voting rights, the preservation of our democracy, climate change, women’s reproductive rights and equality, gender justice, and economic justice.

This event was presented by the Division of Inclusion and Community Engagement, and the lecture honors the history of inclusion and diversity at Springfield College.

“The Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture has become one of the important annual traditions on our campus,” said Springfield College Vice President for Inclusion and Community Engagement Calvin Hill. “We annually try and find speakers who will help educate our campus community with timely topics, and this year was no different.”

Arnwine discussed how the King legacy influences current public policy debates, especially around the issues of racism (white supremacy), materialism, economic equality, and militarism. Recommendations for dismantling white structural racism and patriarchy were highlighted in this address.

“Dr. King’s influence is so very powerful, and it’s something we still feel to this very day,” added Arnwine. “It was an honor to visit Springfield College and be a part of this lecture, and continue a great tradition of honoring Dr. King on the campus.”

Arnwine is internationally renowned for contributions on critical justice issues, including the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the 2006 reauthorization of provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Currently, she also serves as co-chair and facilitator of the National Commission for Voter Justice, the Millennial Votes Matters Convenings, and the Voting Rights Alliance.

“This is always one of the more powerful lectures during the year,” added Springfield College Communications/Sports Journalism Professor Marty Dobrow, who along with Hill, has been instrumental in providing many civil rights educational opportunities to Springfield College students. “Dr. King’s commencement address at Springfield College in 1964 was such an important part of the College’s history, and this lecture continues to pay homage to that historical event.”

Dobrow, who is a national award-winning journalist and author, was the very first Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture guest speaker in 2014 when he shared his research on his book that detailed the circumstances surrounding King’s commencement speech at the College. King visited Springfield College on June 14, 1964, just 10 months after the “I Have a Dream” speech and six months before receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awards

Following the lecture, the Springfield College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awards were presented to an outstanding student, employee, and Springfield community member. The awards recognize those who have made a significant contribution to diversity and inclusion on campus or in the Springfield community. The awards are underwritten by New Valley Bank & Trust.

Student award – Lilly Gould, Class of 2023

Faculty award – Justine Dymond, middle, Associate Professor of English
Community award – Marjorie Hurst, left, and Frederick Hurst, right, from An African-American Point of View (Point of View), a free newsmagazine by and for the African-American community and for other readers who are interested in news from and about the African-American community.