Marshall University’s Intercultural Affairs, in partnership with the NAACP, will host its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Day event Monday, Jan. 16.
Students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community will come together in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. as they march in unity.
Shaunte Polk, the sponsored program administrator in the office of Intercultural Affairs, said this event is known for its peaceful and reassuring atmosphere, reminding people of diverse backgrounds, that everyone is all in this together and there is more room for improvement.
“This is what African Americans did back in those days which was march for peace, march for justice and marching for equality, which is something that is still relevant today,” Polk said. “Even in 2017 there is still a lot of work to be done, but with this march we’re letting everyone know that we are still here and we still have a lot of stuff to overcome.”
Following the march, everyone will join to sing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” also known as “The Black National Anthem.”
T’Asia Rankin, a junior exercise science major, expressed how powerful it is to take part in a program like MLK Jr. Observance Day.
“I believe the march is important for students to get involved in because it shows for a second that everyone is standing in unity, regardless of their backgrounds,” Rankin said. “The march symbolizes Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of everyone being able to join hands and come together and, at this time in our country, I definitely feel we need that now.”
Polk said mixed company is one of the strengths that makes the march such a success.
“This is done with the NAACP, the Huntington community always comes out and Toyota will be marching with us this year, along with a number of high schools,” Polk said. “We have a great number of people come out and support this and it is great to see something like this reaching so many people who all are marching for the same goal, which is justice and equality.”
The “Traditional March” begins at 4:30 p.m., departing from 16 Street Baptist Church, followed by the light reception and socialization ending at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center at 5:30 p.m.
Christian Davis can be contacted at [email protected]