It has been 50 years since the violent summer of 1963 exploded on American streets.
During this time, the civil rights movement lurched with bombings, beatings and ugly behavior.
America’s mangled vision of equality landed on newspaper covers and living room television screens across the world.
Then, an imperfect man found the perfect words to jolt a nation to attention.
Aug. 28 marks the 50-year anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s proclamation of, “I have a dream.”
These words still sing off the page as I write them.
Fifty years have passed since racism first got tangled up in King’s vision for a better future. Fifty years since this university first received its charter from the state of Oklahoma. In terms of overlapping anniversaries, maybe we should claim this one as our own.
It’s on this note that I turn to our choice of cover photo for the first issue of The Oracle.
The striking image of an international student alludes to the paper’s thematic focus on diversity. Talking to international students recently alerted us to some of the struggles and hurdles they must overcome to get here.
Did you know some of our international students have to wait up to three months for meetings with their U.S. embassy to come here?
We heard stories of student visa applications, problems with shipping or storing possessions and learning about a new and, let’s admit it, often bizarre, Okie culture.
The red tape these students get caught up in, and must fight through, cannot be underemphasized.
President Billy Wilson’s notable vision for ORU is globalization.
Does that mean simply getting more international students? Or should it be part of a broader discussion of diversity on this campus and beyond it?
The first step in ORU’s globalization process is this: Develop a Global Lens and Expanded Culture at then Tulsa campus.
ORU can certainly tout its demographics as diverse. Students from 68 different countries call this campus home.
But do we know their stories; celebrate their cultures as they try, day by day, to learn ours?
The currency of globalization is acceptance. It finds value in unpretentious interest in “the other.” In its most basic sense, valuing diversity means listening to stories. Telling stories.
Remembering moments in history like the one 50 years ago. That’s what we wanted to do in this “Welcome Back” edition — tell stories of diversity and plurality.
Find out more about why the March on Washington still matters in our guest editorial. Enjoy a note from our first international student association president, Ooceeh Afame, from Nigeria. Read about students living in the dorms and ones who commute everyday.
Experience these stories in all of our platforms: print, the new Oracle website and social media.
And then take notice of our diverse student body. Utterly imperfect and utterly changing, this is our hybrid home.
In a year of landmark anniversaries, a global vision is before us. Keep a clear eye on diversity and empathy as we make sense of what it means to walk and live together.