On Jan. 21, Pacific University will be hosting the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration for students and the community beginning at 9:00 a.m. The day full of festivities will begin with a viewing of the Presidential Inauguration in the Fireside Lounge. Refreshments will be provided by Pies for Peace during the viewing.
At 11:00 a.m. the ceremony will move to the front of Marsh Hall for the Commemorative Community March. The march will be led by the Roots and Shoots Peace Doves.
“The march itself has been happening for eight to ten years. It’s a nice way to involve the community and reflect on all of the marches Martin Luther King Jr. led during the civil rights movement,” said Committee Chair Alfonso Lopez-Vasquez.
After the march, the procession will move back into the UC to feature several individual’s remarks and contributions to Martin Luther King Jr., including keynote speaker and civil rights activist Margaret Carter. Forest Grove city Mayor, Peter B. Truax, will emcee the noon program.
“We try to engage the community to join us in the celebration. It’s nice because this year the mayor was both involved with the planning of the event and will be the emcee of the noon program. We usually get about 50 percent of the attendees part of the Pacific community and 50 percent from the Forest Grove community,” said Vasquez.
Planning for the event began in early October with meetings amongst the nine member committee once every other week and as the event grew closer, moved to meetings weekly through January.
Although some students are required to attend the event due to scholastic obligations, everyone is encouraged to attend and march in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s contribution to the present generation and the civil rights movement as a whole.
“The present generation has a lot to be grateful for. Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts towards civil rights extend beyond African American civil rights. If it weren’t for him, gender equity and equity for Native Americans and Hispanic Americans would not be anywhere near where it is today,” said Vasquez.
The theme of this year’s celebration is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., “What are you doing for others?”
On a national level Americans are encouraged to consider the day as a day of service rather than a day of rest. Students are strongly encouraged to consider the question and contribute in some way to the holiday.
“We need to build community together, especially considering the trauma we have been through recently. I live a few miles from the Clackamas town center and we are still reeling from the tragedy that happened in our own backyards and the tragedies across the countries. This is our chance to better serve our community by strengthening the community rather than harming it,” said Vasquez.