Grand Valley graduate Littisha Bates admittedly struggled to find hope during her presentation highlighting the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Bates, who teaches and serves as an administrator at the University of Cincinnati, gave a hybrid presentation January 19, speaking in the Kirkhof Center. She graduated from Grand Valley in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. While on campus, Bates was a TRIO McNair Scholar and later earned a doctoral degree from Arizona State University.
She said Grand Valley's King Commemoration Week theme, #EquityinEducation, is a far cry from reality, adding that King himself wrote about the same issue as a student at Morehouse College.
"As a student, Dr. King wrote about the purpose of education and said, 'Education in this country is not fulfilling its purpose,'" Bates said.
She listed persistent socioeconomic factors that impact funding and graduation rates in American school systems and wondered how people can call education a "great equalizer."