• Jan 18, 2019

Achieving King’s Beloved Community

January 18, 2019
Grace Tatter, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Beloved community: a community in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger, and hate. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. popularized the term during his lifetime of activism and imbued it with new meaning, fueled by his faith that such a community was, in fact, possible. But he always acknowledged that realizing his vision would involve systems of law, education, infrastructure, health care, and municipal reform — no one sector, much less one person, could create it in isolation.

In that spirit, students and staff from across Harvard University — from clinicians in Health Services, to staff at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, to students at the Graduate School of Design — have joined forces for a winter-term course at the Ed School called Beloved Streets: Race and Justice in America.

The course is led by Tracie Jones, assistant director of Diversity and Inclusion Programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; Kaia Stern, lecturer at HGSE and director Harvard’s Prison Studies Project; and David Harris, managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute on Race & Justice. The trio were inspired by Beloved Streets of America, a nonprofit founded by Melvin White to transform the nearly 900 streets named for King across the country — often in under-resourced, primarily African-American neighborhoods — in such a way that honors King and the idea of beloved community.

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