Thursday, February 25, 2021
The University of Iowa Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

"The Time is Always Right to Do What is Right" – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Liz Tovar Standing

As we come to the close of Black History Month, I reflect on all the great work we have seen across campus, highlighting our black history. From the Black Student Association at Iowa Law, all the great stories in our Athletics Department, the Black in Business features by the Tippie College of Business, and all the great stories from Internal Medicine and the College of Education. Thank you for continuing to keep these and other stories alive in Iowa. You can see a lot of our great work on our website.

Now the real work begins. Celebrating black history is not confined to February. Black history is all of our history. I challenge all of us to tell more of our stories of color throughout the year, not just when the calendar rolls around.

"The Time is Always Right to Do What is Right" – Martin Luther King, Jr.

This quote by MLK has always been my favorite because it applies to everything we do, all the time. It is something I think about as we face challenging situations on our campus or challenging conversations. 

This month, we are working through many discussions across our campus related to free speech and diversity, equity, and inclusion as a part of our way of life. While we have made great strides, we know we have bridges to build.

I ask myself; how can we get better?  I come back to one simple, but difficult skill.  Dr. King was a great speaker, but he was a better listener because he worked to understand before he spoke.

I encourage all of us to focus on listening to each other.  But listen differently. What do I mean by this? Don't listen to respond, listen to understand. Listen to know where someone is coming from before you react or respond.  Think about what is really being said. Listen to grow, to develop an opinion, and to become better as a person. This doesn't mean the other view is 'right' or their idea is something you need to accept, but you will grow as a person if you listen to understand.

"The Time is Always Right to Do What is Right." – Martin Luther King, Jr.

In my experience, listening to understand is always the best first step to make sure we do what is right.

If we really want “Do What is Right,” to celebrate our black history and learn from Dr. King, guess what time it is...it’s time we listen to each other.

Thank you for an informative and educational Black History Month Hawkeyes! I am here to listen to you if you ever want to talk; just shoot me a note at elizabeth-tovar@uiowa.edu.

Go Hawks!  Liz