Shouts of “believe it, dream it, do it” and “free at last” filled Seventh Street as over 100 people joined in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day March from City Hall to the Indiana Memorial Union on Monday.
Sponsored by the Luddy Living Learning Center and the IU Gamma Eta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the event started at 1 p.m. and ended in the Hoosier Room with refreshments catered by local businesses.
Treon McClendon, associate director of the Luddy LLC, said the purpose of the march was to bring people together and commemorate the life and work of Dr. King.
“The impact is going to be truly bringing everybody together, uplifting while continuing on Dr. King’s dream,” McClendon said. “I think that right now, our community needs things like this more than ever.”
McClendon said he helped IU students Jordan Williams, Gamma Eta chapter president, and Donald Nash, Luddy LLC community chair, plan the march over the past couple months, working with local organizations and businesses to publicize the event and obtain the refreshments.
At the beginning of the march, Williams gave a speech about the importance of community in the wake of the divisive events such as #BlackLivesMatter movement, the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick and more locally, the recent controversy surrounding IU professor Eric Rasmusen.
“It’s really to show unity more than anything,” Williams said. “In today’s day and age, there’s a lot going on, so showing a united front is a great way to spend the day off from school.”
After Williams’ speech, the crowd participated in a moment of silence for Dr. King before starting on the 0.8-mile march.
“We’re doing this march to show people that they have a community to reach out to,” Nash said.
IU senior David Harrison said he heard about the event from his involvement with the National Society of Black Engineers.
“I think that this was a very good event for us to all be able to come together and unite amongst each other and be able to march for a good cause and just not spend this day doing nothing,” Harrison said.
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