With the snows of one storm behind them and another forecast of snow rapidly approaching, students still found the determination to march Monday, Jan. 15, in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.
Normally hosted by the local chapter of the NAACP, the march began at 11:30 a.m. in APSU’s Greek village. When NAACP cancelled their scheduled events due to concerns over the weather, various NPHC organizations marched in spite of the snow and ice, in remembrance of the civil rights leader.
“We decided to have the march because we felt like we had an obligation as men of Alpha Phi Alpha, members of NPHC and as people of color to hold this march as a sign of unity, peace and love among the Greek-affiliated and non-Greek-affiliated students,” senior communication major Emmanual Williams and member of Alpha Phi Alpha said. “We are stronger together, and during this time of racial turmoil, we must all stand to fight against what divides us.”
The weather hazard posed a challenge to those wanting to participate in the march, but students said they were determined to march because of its meaning and importance.
“I wanted to walk with my fellow NPHC members during this march because we represent everything what Martin Luther King wanted to see from Blacks in America,” senior health and performance major and Sigma Gamma Rho member Sadaija Chestnut said. “Our march today represents unity, black excellence and purpose.”
The NAACP had to cancel the previous day’s prayer services as well as Monday’s planned events at Burt Elementary school due to hazardous conditions, but the student groups managed to organize their annual march in spite of the snow and ice.
Thanks to that decision, junior social work major Brionna Campbell said she felt she was contributing to King’s legacy.
“Surprisingly, this was actually my first MLK march. Coming together with other minority students on APSU’s campus was a formidable experience for me,” Campbell said. “Celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King with peers today makes me feel like I’ve done a small but significant part in keeping his momentous dream alive.”
Other students marched out of a more personal or intimate connection to the civil rights leader beyond what he represents.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.,” Tau Phi Fraternity Inc. president Lamarkus Day said. “Therefore, it was only right for the brothers of the Tau Phi Chapter to pay homage to our brother.”
As the air became colder with the next snowstorm approaching, the participants said they felt they accomplished something significant and meaningful.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lead the civil rights movement and paved the way for many of us today. This is why we decided to march on anyway,” Day said. “Although it as a late notice, we still managed to get APSU students out there to commemorate his legacy.”