20160118 MLK March Dani Hunter-14-EDIT.jpg

Burt Elementary School holds a commemorative march for MLK Day on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., members of the seven Pan-Hellenic chapters of APSU, both current and graduate, joined together with the community to keep the teachings of King alive.

Children ages five to 11 came to Burt Elementary school to hear about the life and beliefs of King. The children were divided into groups and given age appropriate lessons. The lessons covered a variety of topics including conflict resolution, dating and etiquette.

Each chapter was assigned a group and topic to teach. Event Director David Davenport, APSU’s Director of University Recreation and Chief Diversity Officer, said unity should be the most prominent result.

“Martin Luther King is not only for African Americans, but for all races,” Davenport said. “Dr. King stood for unity among the nation, a nation consisting of all races. That’s what I would like to see from this event. I want the children to understand that they are more than the stories they hear in the news and the figures they see on TV.”

The volunteers shared Davenport’s belief that unity is key to a healthier community.

“It is important for these kids to learn that it is okay to make friends with those who are different,” said senior political science major James Fields. “Once they realize diversity is a part of life, they will learn not to judge a book by its cover.”

Junior accounting major Jasmine Maid said her hopes for the younger generations are “for there to be unity, and more specifically the ability to accomplish tasks among different racial groups without fighting.”

Aside from teaching, the volunteers said they were excited to be influential individuals.

“It is so important for these girls especially to interact with educated and sophisticated black women,” said Ranelle Skipper, graduate chapter member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. “This is an opportunity for us to be positive role models so that girls are not limited to what they see in the media. I want them to examine our character and realize they can be like us.”

In order to create a unified community, the volunteers said they want their efforts to stress the importance of keeping the past in mind while moving forward.

“If we don’t know where we come from, how can we get ahead of where we were?” said sophomore health and human performance major Chloe Woods.

The volunteers said they want more than unity for the sake of unity. They said they want to see a community of people who thrive off one another.

APSU’s Pan-Hellenic chapters gave up their day off to serve with the hopes that their efforts would be repaid in the form of a greater community.