To honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Weber State University and the Ogden chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons teamed up and hosted a Munch and March on Monday at the Marshall White Community Center in Ogden.
“This event is important because it helps us start the year united, supporting and respecting each other regardless of our differences and because of our common humanity,” said Adrienne Gillespie, coordinator of the Center for Diversity and Unity at WSU. “Dr. King’s dream was launched in June 1963, and here it is January 2012, and we are still talking about it, working to make it happen. When we share the dream, we keep it alive.”
The daylong event started at the Marshall White Center with a pancake breakfast and was followed with speakers from several people in the community.
Speakers included Stanley Ellington, the current president of the NAACP Ogden chapter, Nikki Lovell from United Way Northern Utah, and Forrest Crawford from WSU. Each of these speakers discussed the importance of the day and what it meant to them.
Following the speakers, the NAACP showed King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Audience members proceeded to stand up and clap, and some even cheered when the speech ended.
“This day means so much to me,” said Monica Clifton, a sophomore at WSU, “and it makes me incredibly proud to be an African American. It reminds people what we are capable of, not only black people, but as a species all together. The strength of these people to have a nonviolent protest through all the violence that was coming at them is extremely uplifting and motivating. This day instills pride into who I am.”
Following the speech, audience members joined behind CDU committee members with signs and chants and marched to the Ogden Amphitheatre, reminiscent of King’s march to Washington D.C.
For the remainder of the day, community members were invited back to WSU for the fourth Annual Food Drive for Human Rights Day. Each person was asked to bring canned or non-perishable food to help in the food drive. Free bowling and billiards was also offered to all.
The food donations were split between the Northern Utah Food Pantry and the Weber Cares Campus Food Pantry.
Betty Sawyer, former NAACP Ogden chapter president and WSU GEER UP coordinator, wanted people to recognize three things throughout the day.
“First and foremost we hope to recognize the strength, character and sacrificial service of Reverend King,” Sawyer said. “Next, we hope to give people a glimpse of the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Lastly, it’s all about the call to serve. There is so much that can be accomplished when we work together. In this call to action, we have to pass this charge on to the next generation.”
Clifton said serving others has valuable benefits on both global and local stages.
“I have recently found much joy in volunteering. That’s the spirit of the great man, Martin Luther King,” Clifton said. “It’s all about helping your fellow man, and it’s very necessary for the community, especially in Ogden.”
For more information about upcoming service projects or to learn about service opportunities in the area, students can visit the Community Involvement Center’s website.