Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and Call to Action

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Caroline Wilkerson ~ Staff Writer

     On Monday, January 20, students at the University of Lynchburg gathered in Sindow Chapel in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

     The event was planned and brought forth by the Black Student Association, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Sigma Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc,  and the Spiritual Life Center.

     When student, Santiago Meneses, junior, was asked about his thoughts on the event, he said, “Well I thought [the event] was pretty interesting since I am not familiar with the history behind both Malcom X and Martin Luther King, being from Guatemala. I liked that they both had the same vision of equal rights even though they went about the issue in two different ways…one through violence, and one through peace. The part that I loved the most, however, was that the event showed how both men were leaders not just for African Americans, but for every person regardless of race, in the world.”

     Abbie Defino, senior, added, “It was a great celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. filled with a powerful skit, song and words.”

     According to the National Community and Service website, “Martin Luther King, Jr. day is celebrated every January 20, and is recognized as a federal holiday. This January 20, 2020, marked the 25th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy.”

     The event consisted of a variety of different aspects, including music such as the “Black National Anthem: Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a skit from the play In Remembrance of MLK: From Beyond Vietnam to the Dream, and a pledge to peace and action, saying, “No Justice, No Peace; Know Justice, Know Peace.”

     Previously, last November, a fiesta-themed party led to a walk-out and a call to action from students on campus expressing their feelings and concerns regarding a lack of unity and inclusion on campus. This event was not only an event to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but also served in a positive step in creating a more unified and inclusive campus.

     Kimberly Mendez, senior, said, “I really appreciate the steps the campus has taken to create a more inclusive and strong community. We definitely have some more work to do, but this was a perfect example of moving in the right direction.”