In an email sent to the Western Michigan University community, President Edward Montgomery denounced the actions of rioters at the Capitol and explained how he believes the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. can help the country heal going forward.
“The horrifying violence that recently took place at our nation’s Capitol was designed to prevent the certification of election results and has left us shaken and concerned for the future of our democracy,” Montgomery wrote. “The peaceful transition of power, respect for the rule of law and the sanctity of the seat of our government have all been diminished by the actions of the rioters.”
Montgomery centered his appeal around the King quote, “We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish as fools.”
“Together we can repair the damage and restore our democracy’s vigor, but to do so requires us to speak and act to keep it alive,” Montgomery said. “We should also heed the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, “We must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish as fools.”
Democracy means people can exercise the right to vote no matter the circumstances and people must respect the outcome of the election even if it is not favorable toward one party, Montgomery explained.
He acknowledged how much work is still needed to achieve social justice.
“Although some progress has been made around social and racial justice, the collective efforts of all members of our community are still needed if we are to achieve a more equitable society,” Montgomery wrote.
Montgomery also encouraged students to attend the virtual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.
“Whether you take part in one or more of the activities—spend the day taking part in a conversation to help you better understand others, read a book that challenges your thinking or perhaps watch a movie to shed a new light on history,” Montgomery said. “I hope you are able to learn or participate in something that broadens your understanding on this day during which we commemorate the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”