2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Striving to Build the Beloved Community: From Dr. King to Black Lives Matter

Dr. King reminded us that “freedom never comes easy.” He knew it could not be achieved without collective effort. With others, he forged a movement into an active, non-violent struggle against racism, poverty and inequity. For Dr. King, nonviolence paved the way to reconciliation, redemption and the creation of the Beloved Community, an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. He said “love – which means understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill, even for one’s enemies - is the solution to the race problem.” Only through the power of love and nonviolence could the Beloved Community convert adversaries into friends, united in mutual bonds of recognition, equality and reciprocity. He argued that justice for the oppressed necessitated justice for oppressors as well. In light of this past year’s events – mass non-violent protest and civil disobedience, as well as reactionary backlash – the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee invites the Fairfield community to consider the challenge of building the Beloved Community on our campus and in our local communities.

Our annual Convocation, taking place virtually on Monday, February 22 at 7 p.m., will inaugurate a weeklong series of virtual events about racial justice.

2021 Convocation Speaker

Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation
Cristina Beltrán

Monday, February 22 at 7 p.m.

Cristina Beltrán

Cristina BeltranCristina Beltrán is an associate professor and director of Graduate Studies in the department of Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University. A political theorist by training, her research focuses on modern and contemporary political theory, Latinx and U.S. ethnic/racial politics, feminist and queer theory. She is the author of The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity (Oxford University Press, 2010), which received numerous awards, including the American Political Science Association’s Ralph Bunche Award and the Casa de la Américas prize for the best book on Latinos in the United States. Her new book, Cruelty as Citizenship: How Migrant Suffering Sustains White Democracy has just been published with the Forerunner Series at the University of Minnesota Press.

Her research has also appeared in the journals Political Theory, Aztlán, Politics & Gender, Contemporary Political Theory, Political Research Quarterly, and the Du Bois Review as well as various edited volumes. Along with Elisabeth Anker, she is co-editor of the journal Theory & Event. She also provides occasional political commentary on MSNBC and has appeared on The Beat with Ari Melber, Velshi with Ali Velshi, All In with Chris Hayes, and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Martin Luther King Jr. Week Virtual Events

Celebration of Activism

Vision Award Winner: Andrea Canuel

Vision Award Winner: Janie Leatherman, PhD

Vision Award Winner: Nya Jones '23

Connecticut Post Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest

Taylor Bianca Gerald is a seventh-grader at St. Augustine Academy who won first place in this year’s annual Fairfield University Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest for Bridgeport, Conn. middle school students.


21-Day Ignatian Racial Equity Challenge

Monday, February 1- Sunday, February 21

Join by going to 21-Day Ignatian Racial Equity Challenge. The 21-Day Challenge is hosted by the Ignatian Solidarity Network that provides social justice education grounded in Catholic Social Teaching. This event kicks off Black History month and leads up to our MLK Convocation keynote address on Monday, February 22, 2021 at 7p.m. with Cristina Beltrán.

Groups from across campus will host drop-in sessions where we can gather and discuss the 21-Day Challenge. Look for announcements at life@fairfield and in today@fairfield about the drop-in sessions during the month of February.

The MLK Convocation Committee supports this event as part of its “Celebration of Activism,” along with the following partners: Center for Social Impact, Center for Catholic Studies, Campus Ministry, Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, CT-ACE Fairfield Chapter, and Alpha Sigma Nu.

This 21-Day Challenge brings our Fairfield community together as one way to reflect on and advance our Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Mission Statement. For further readings to compliment the 21-Day Challenge, please visit our DiMenna-Nyselius Library Antiracist Resource Guide.


Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation

Cristina Beltrán, PhD
Monday, February 22
7 p.m.

Join us for the annual Convocation featuring Cristina Beltrán, PhD.


"Brown Girl With A Gun: Susana Martinez and Intersectionality on the Right"

Tuesday, February 23
5 p.m.

This seminar is open to faculty and staff.


"Borderlands and the Construction of Latinx Identities in the US" Virtual Discussion

Thursday, February 25
5 p.m.

Is there a place for borders in the beloved community? This event will feature small group discussions focusing on an excerpt from Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza. We will also share reflections on Dr. Cristina Beltran’s convocation address.


Youth Leadership Summit

Friday, February 26

Local middle school students will participate in the virtual Youth Leadership Academy, where they will learn valuable leadership and conflict resolution skills.


"Growing Up in the Age of Colorblindness Virtual Panel Discussion"

Friday, March 5
5 p.m.

This student panel consisting of the Black Student Union and the Honors Book Club aims to address the consequences of colorblindness by drawing from personal experiences as well as academic literature. Students will reflect on and discuss their personal experiences as well as relevant critical scholarship.


For more information or to register for events, please visit Life@Fairfield.

Vision Award Winners


Student: Nya Jones ‘23
Staff: Andrea Canuel
Faculty: Janie Leatherman, PhD



Student: Luckario Alcide ‘21
Staff: Julie Bararo Mughal
Faculty: Silvia Marsans-Sakly, PhD



Student: Sydney Williams ‘19
Staff: Sharon Daly
Faculty: Maggie Ann Labinski, PhD



Student: Sophia Bolanos '18
Faculty: Dr. Kris Sealey



Student: Anmol Tabassum '18
Faculty: Dr. Paul Lakeland
Staff: Dr. Ophelie Rowe-Allen



Student: Michael Joe Harding '18
Faculty: Dr. Bryan Ripley Crandall
Staff: Sydney Johnson



Student: Nicole Davidow '15
Faculty: Dr. Jocelyn Boryczka
Staff: Will Johnson



Student: Eric Salgado ’14
Faculty: Dr. Yohuru Williams
Staff: Jocelyn Collen '06



Student: Sharon Pedassa '13
Faculty: Dr. David Brown
Staff: Wylie Blake



Student: Jasmine Fernandez '12
Faculty: Dr. Deb Chappell
Staff: Melissa Quan



Student: Shawne Lomauro '11
Staff: Meredith Marquez
Faculty: Dr. Danke Li


Student: Sarah L. Gatti '10
Community: Roberto Sanchez
Faculty: Dr. Johana Garvey



Student: Michael Cicirelli '10
Staff: Jim Fitzpatrick
Community: Denise Taylor
Faculty: Dr. Ellen Umansky



Student: Peter Otoki ‘08
Student: Frank Fraioli ‘08
Faculty: Dr. Michael Tucker
Community: James Smith
Special: Sr Julianna Poole, SSND, PhD



Student: Ashley Toombs '07
Community: Charles B Tisdale
Staff: Barbara Kiernan 
Alumni: Danielle K. Hawthorne '91



Faculty: Dr. Winston Tellis
Alumni: Paula Donovan '77 '88
Community: Dr. & Mrs. Barone
Student: Chrystie Cruz '07



Community: Dr. Elizabeth Gardner
Community: Rev. Paul Merry
Alumni: Ellen Morgan esq '86
Student: Oriena Cowan '05
Student: Katherine Canner-O'Mealy '05



Faculty: Dr. Judy Primavera
Community: George Bellinger
Alumni: Dr. Robert Smith Jr. '74
Student: Francesca Cobb '04
Student: Burim Gjidija '05



University: Dr. Walter Petry
Community: Stanley Arrington



University: Andre Willis
Alumni: Richard Fuller Sr. '77
Community: Rev. John S. Kidd
Community: Rev. Phyllis J Leopold



Faculty: Dr. Elizabeth Hohl
Alumni: Edward Brennan '65
Alumni: Kathy Niznansky M'81
Alumni: Felipe Reinoso M'88

Contact Us

For more information, contact:

Pejay Lucky

Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
(203) 254-4000 ext. 4215


Sunil Purushotham, PhD

Assistant Professor of History