The Bell Tolls for Us

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An event marking the 50th year since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us his work is unfinished.

On April 4, 2018, people around the world marked 50 years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At UW Tacoma, people gathered on a somber, rainy afternoon not only to remember Dr. King and his work, but to look toward keeping that work moving forward.

The event was organized and opened by Dr. Deirdre Raynor (starting at 00:10 in the accompanying video), professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, director of the Office of Undergraduate Education and interim Assistant Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion.

UW Tacoma student LeShawn Gamble spoke briefly, followed by community member Stephen Whitmore (at 07:40 in the video). A musical interlude, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” was performed by Mary Doss (at 13:22), accompanied by her relative Bishop Michael Doss.

At 4:05 p.m. (18:00 in the video), ASUWT President Arwa Dubad and student LeShawn Gamble jointly rang a bell 39 times, once for each of the years of Dr. King’s life. The bell was generously loaned for the occasion by the Tacoma Fire Department. The bell toll was one of hundreds nationwide, starting in Memphis, Tenn., the site of Dr. King’s death.

Following the ringing of the bell, Chancellor Mark Pagano spoke (at 20:26), and the event was brought to a conclusion by UW Tacoma Advisory Board member Lyle Quasim and Bishop Lawrence White (at 28:00).

The essence of the event was perhaps best summed up by the question raised by Dr. Raynor (the full text of her remarks can be found here).

“I ask each of you to think about your role in the struggle against suffering,” she said. “What are you willing to do to continue to move the work of Dr. King and other civil rights activists forward?”

Written by: 
John Burkhardt / April 5, 2018
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or