Posted on by Steven Wein

Essential Talks Lecture Reveals the Blueprints for Building Loving Communities

By Teagan Davidge

The University Student Union (USU) and University Counseling Services (UCS) hosted an eye-opening conversation about Dr. Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community and principles of nonviolence as powerful expressions of courage, understanding and trust with Ekemini Uwan.

Ekemini Uwan standing behind podium speaking
Ekemini Uwan speaks on Dr. Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community. Photo by Steven Wein.

Keynote speaker Uwan, a distinguished CSUN alumna, public theologian, international human rights activist, and co-author of the 2023 NAACP Image Award Nominated book “Truth’s Table: Black Women’s Musings on Life, Love, and Liberation,” taught attendees the ways campus communities can work together to bring about multicultural healing. Her talk examined how societies built from trust, love and compassion can transform people and relationships.

“In order to shift priorities to create the beloved community, we will need to dream together radically to bring our collective power to bear for the good of our community,” Uwan said. “The late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King embodied what it means to dare to dream.”

Uwan repeatedly referenced Dr. King’s final work “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” throughout her presentation, in which he advocates for unified voting and nonviolent methods of future resistance against racism in America and beyond. 

“King’s deep understanding of poverty, militarism and American racism is on full display as he speaks to the strengths and concerns of the responses to injustice prevalent in his day that still serve us well over five decades later,” said Uwan. “It is a sobering, timely and practical work with prophetic power for today’s polarized and chaotic political times.”

Uwan said this book is the perfect blueprint for navigating the political disarray spreading across the country. The talk asserted that although people are connected through the internet and social media, individuals feel lonelier than ever.

“The fuel that keeps the wheels of chaos turning is lovelessness, whereby love is swallowed up by selfishness,” Uwan said. “How do we cultivate the beloved community? Love is how.”

This lecture is part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Grant Essential Talks lecture series. Dr. Paulette Theresa-Schechtel, tenured faculty counselor with UCS and co-author for this semester’s discussion, outlined the importance of uplifting Black voices in spaces of knowledge. She also emphasized how attending discussions like this helps to build a common understanding and encourages students to be mindful of the communities in which they surround themselves.

“I am so happy to have this opportunity to gather with all of you during this month in which we honor our Black ancestors and current Black influences who have contributed to making our great nation what it is today,” said Theresa-Schechtel. “We highlight the visit by our guest Ekemini Uwan, who through her award-winning podcast ‘Truth’s Table’ can educate and help us to create a more dynamic, equitable and just campus community and society in which we live.”

Ekemini Uwan in conversation with panelists on stage
Uwan answers question from the audience. Photo by Steven Wein.
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