MLK Commemorative March sparks conversations on history and inclusion

Martin Luther King Jr.’s words were accompanied by the chant “How Long? Not long,” the speech King gave afterwards Selma march to tell black people across America that they would not suffer much longer in their fight for civil rights.

Now, protesters for MLK’s memorial march on the Michigan State University campus are using those words to commemorate the progress King has made for black students and Faculty.

Professor Robert L. Green, former dean of the College of Urban Development at Michigan State University and a friend of the late King, said that all those years ago, when King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, he cashed a blank check at the government that had never been able to redeem their community. He went on to say that while the students and faculty are still marching to demonstrate “their shameful condition,” they are also there to celebrate King’s dream Fruit.

“There are still reasons to march,” Green said during his speech. “We have to seize the opportunity Gap.”

Interim President Teresa Woodruff took part in the march and told the crowd her own story of gazing up at the tower each morning and being relegated to the founding of the university 168 years ago. Looking at Beaumont, Woodruff recalls what she believes to be the university’s founding purpose: to open the door to education for the broadest and most diverse group of students Michigan.

Citing King’s words, Woodruff said the students and faculty have the “severe urgency of the now,” and pointed to the Rock on Farm Lane and said it helped generations of students gain a voice on campus to have. She also pointed out the future project that will be created opposite the rock: the multicultural center. The future construction site of this detached building was the terminus of the March.

“We will all walk together, arm in arm, to our fierce urgency from now to that place where our voices will be heard… across the street to that place where new generations of leaders… will be part of this new building: the multicultural center,” Woodruff said in her Speech.

Angela Solomon, senior broadcast journalist who serves as Miss Black at the MSU Alphas pageant, spoke about the importance of the march as a way for marginalized students to draw attention to King and his vision, but also to MSU’s multiculturalism Center.

“The multicultural center is something that students have been fighting for since the ’90s,” Solomon said. “The fact that it’s 2023 and that we’ve just ordered this building is something extremely monumental and I hope that our students will come together and still chang.”

Also present was Trustee Rema Vassar, who was recently sworn in as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Vassar is the first black woman to hold this position. She believes that while King had a dream of educational equity, he said he also had a critique of the true function of education and whether modern education was fulfilling the potential of what it isshould be.

Vassar said that education is “a matter of life or death” and that she is working to close the gaps in opportunities Green talked about in his speech, embracing the diverse students in our hallways and Spartans global.

She also spoke to those who didn’t think she belonged on the board of trustees and commented on King’s dream of seeing black people in leadership positions Education.

“Some don’t think I deserve it (and) don’t think I represent you,” Vassar said. “What I represent is the promise of Martin Luther King Jr. What I represent is the promise of possibility, the promise of potential, and the promise of power when we all come together and decide what it will be and what it will be Dream recognized.”

Charlotte Bachelor, Senior Professional and Public Writing, spoke about how MLK Day is a time to reflect on victims and to remember how her family would tell her stories about MLK coming to Detroit or his speeches on hears for the first time. She said it’s about seeing how far her community has come since then, but also reflecting on the issues even in her own Camp.

While Bachelor enjoys seeing her peers speak at events like the march, she believes the responsibility should still rest on the shoulders of administration change.

“When you’re paying big bucks to be in that space and it’s clear that you don’t want to be by the actions or what’s left unsaid by your classmates and faculty, it can be a bit isolated at timesg,” Bachelor said.

Bachelor said it’s important to be seen and heard because she thinks these events often get lost in an email thread sent out by the university, or changes happen behind closed doors or between whispers among students and these changes are never publicly regulated. However, marches allow black students throughout campusis heard.

Bachelor explained that for many black students, MLK Day is not viewed as a day off, but as a day to work on changes in their community. She said she wants the non-Black students to see the work their community is doing each day and instead have those students “pick up the rake” on MLK day and come to those events, or at least pay attention to how theirs is being done spend time on the HoDay.

“I think that’s important to show that we’re still here and fighting for these issues, and it’s not just about one day a year,” Bachelor said. “This is the day the government told us we can talk about these things… and march. I think it’s an important reminder, especially for students who don’t need to march to be heard on campus or whose fight is scheduled for a specific day of the tha year.”

Clayton Griffith, senior in interdisciplinary humanities and education, said MLK Day would ideally be a day to commemorate not only King, but also the history of the work of him and many others in the civil rights movement Movement.

Griffith said that this work led to the modern day Black student ideology of “living with purpose, promise and perseverance” and an awareness of the intent that continuing his legacy bestows upon the Black communityf MSU.

“[Today is]an important part of our nation’s history, especially for my community and family,” Griffith said. “I think it also serves as an acknowledgment of America’s past … Ideally, just having the ability to acknowledge what we’ve been through and persevered and what we’re continuing to work on.” in the direction.”


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