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MU Intercultural Affairs annual event to celebrate MLK Jr. Day

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the first federal holiday to celebrate the legacy of an African American, will be recognized by Marshall University and the Huntington community on Monday, Jan. 21.

Marshall University’s Office of Intercultural Affairs and the Huntington-Cabell Branch NAACP will sponsor the annual freedom march and birthday celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Monday.

“Our annual events hold the same traditional components, but we do our best to enrich them with new content,” said Maurice Cooley, associate vice president of Marshall’s Office of Intercultural Affairs. “The traditional march, planned by the Huntington Branch of the NAACP and the MU Office of Intercultural Affairs will begin at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church at 4:30 p.m. and end at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center at 5:30 p.m. where the Martin Luther King Jr. Observance program will begin.”

Cooley said he anticipates the event to be powerful and moving, like it has been in the past, but he assures that it will differ in what is taken away from the event once it has ended.

“The staff tries to be as creative and imaginative as we can to find relevancy for Marshall University’s campus,” Cooley said. “It is an easy task, because we have worked with the community for many years.”

He said the concert portion of the event will be “delightful and uplifting.” The talent portion will include poetry from writer Timothy Meadows, vocal performances from the youth of the A. D. Lewis Community Center Choir and Spring Hill Elementary Choir, along with the NAACP Musical Ensemble. The concert portion of the event will end with “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing,” also called “The Black National Anthem,”and benediction by Rabbi Jean E. Eglinton of B’nai Sholom Congregation. The program will end after a reception hosted in the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center lobby.

“What makes me most proud is that, every time this event occurs, Marshall is a consistent supporter and so are the citizens within the Huntington community,” said Cooley. “They not only support this event, but when it comes to other multicultural events, Marshall University’s president is a constant supporter.”

He said that students, Greek life, faculty and community members all showed up last year, regardless of the weather, to participate in the march and celebration. That is something he is proud of and anticipates for the upcoming event.

“We must come together to support global integration, we must respect life and those within our community,” said Cooley. “It is important that we are not silent. We must continue to speak to one another about the importance of coexistence. This issue is more important and critical today than it was yesterday.”

Tiara Brown can be contacted at [email protected]

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