The EMU Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative March, was the first in an array of events that will be going on around campus this week to celebrate Eastern’s 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. The March ensued Thursday afternoon at 3:30pm.
An impressive number of students, faculty, and members of the community all gathered around the MLK garden to hear guest speakers before the march. President of EMU, James Smith, gave a welcoming address to the crowd.
“We have a great turnout today. We’re marching to remember Selma, to remember the importance of unity, and we’ve got every walk on campus here and we’re pretty excited about it,” said President Smith.
Other speakers included members of Eastern’s Alpha Phi Alpha chapter, the fraternity that Martin Luther King Jr. belonged to. A speech was also make by Superintendent of River Rouge School District and EMU alum, Dr. Derrick Coleman. His words were a reflection on the trials MLK faced and the sacrifices he made to see his dream through till the end.
“We can live by King’s example. If he was willing to sacrifice, to pay the ultimate cost, to leave his family, to die on the altar for us, the least we could do is to come together and help each other, because we find ourselves in some really rough times. We ask that when you leave here today, don’t just come together once a year symbolically, but live the legacy,” said Coleman.
The march began. Taking the lead, members of the EMU Gospel Choir sang “We Shall Overcome” while the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha carried the banner inviting onlookers to join en route.
The march traveled around campus and concluded at the Student Center where a reception was held for the MLK Student Art Showcase. Three EMU students were the recipients of the Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. student scholarship, amounting in $500 each.
The event was made to commemorate and reflect on the significance of the Selma-Montgomery march, led by King in 1965 in the fight for the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The celebration will continue through Tuesday, Jan. 15, with events taking place on campus everyday.