On Martin Luther King Jr. Day



January 15, 2016

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we are reflecting on the major initiative we undertook this summer to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, and other civil rights achievements, with special guest speakers and programming for students throughout the country.

Authors, artists, historians, elected leaders and organizations that helped lead the civil rights movement shared their experiences with students and contextualized past experiences with contemporary issues. The highlight of this effort was a panel discussion on civil rights at Washington University in St. Louis, which drew 600 students and professionals. Read more about it in St. Louis Jewish Light.

The struggle for Civil Rights—from the 1950s and 60s up through today—is an essential part of our own work as the people of Israel—the people whose name means struggle.

In Martin Luther King’s final speech, he said, “I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” Like Moses, Dr. King looked out to others to continue the journey. His final message to us was about sharing the responsibility to repair the world. 

Hillel professionals work with students to build strong relationships with a wide array of community and campus partners and to instill the important Jewish values of loving one another and pursuing justice.