Picking up their picket signs and taking to the street after a warm breakfast, campus students and community members alike marched Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Kicking off the first day of WSU Remembers: MLK Week of Service, WSU’s Center for Community Engaged Learning, WSU’s Center for Diversity and Unity and the NAACP hosted their annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast and Freedom March at the Marshall White Center.
According to Ogden NAACP President Stanley Ellington, this event was a great way to bring the community together to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream of equality.
“It’s important to let it be known throughout the city that diversity matters,” he said. “We showed that the city is reaching out to the community to have an inclusive environment at this event today.”
Starting at 9 a.m., participants began MLK week with singing, speeches and casual conversation with fellow community members over free breakfast.
At the event, it was officially proclaimed that Martin Luther King Jr. Day would be a “Day of Service” in Ogden and the Freedom March became the first step to prolong King’s legacy.
Adrienne Andrews, special assistant to WSU’s president for Diversity and WSU director of the Center for Diversity and Unity, said Weber State helps every year to “actualize King’s dream of an inclusive community” and this year was especially successful.
“What this event said to us today is that we can come together to a common table to have a meal, to learn about each other, to learn from each other and to learn with each other,” said Andrews. “It just turned out fantastic.”
Guest speaker Skylar Northrop, WSU junior and husband to MLK Day of Service Chair Kelsey Northrop, believes that it was a great way to bring the campus and community together.
He also felt it was a great way to show that, though King faced different issues in the past, his legacy is still relevant today and people should be aware of that.
“I think that it’s very important that we can all regroup and refocus on King’s efforts,” Northrop said. “I really hope that people will just remember what Martin Luther King Jr., and all those that were involved in that era, did and what it was about.”
To help bring more awareness to King’s dream, Northrop and several other guest speakers were asked to recite their “call to action,” something they felt others could go out and do.
After the Freedom March from the Marshall White Center to the Ogden Amphitheater, Northrop stood on the stage and gave his own call to action, much like King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
“That is my call of action. We need to look at our daily actions and see how much we are really loving the people around us,” said Northrop, who wanted to highlight King’s unconditional love for others. “It’s just a simple way for people to create that good bond between one another.”
According to CCEL Assistant Director Mike Moon, Weber State has a different service project for every day of the week in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
“Basically, it’s a week for us to remember Martin Luther King Jr. and we do that through one of his visions, which was to do good to humanity and the people in your local community,” Moon said. “I think each of the projects benefit the community in a unique way.”
One upcoming project this week is volunteering at the Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center (PARC) on Jan. 22. For two hours, students can participate in a discussion about employment opportunities for special needs adults.
On Jan. 23 at 11:30 a.m. students can volunteer on campus to redesign the Weber Cares food pantry. Finally, volunteers can help PARC clients visit the WSU men’s basketball game on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.
Andrews is most excited to see students “come out of their comfort zones” and volunteer to link campus with community while honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
“Even though MLK Day may just be a day to some people, for others it’s a way of life,” Andrews said. “So when we’re serving others, we’re celebrating that way of life.”