by Chantelle Roy
Nothing can stop Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, not even 20-degree weather.
The brisk air nipped at the crowd of around 60 as they assembled for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. march, this year titled “Achieving the Dream Through Inclusion.” The march leaders shouted into microphones and banged on drums, signaling the beginning of the march. “Who had a dream?” the leader shouted. “Martin Luther King!” sang the crowd.
After a short walk from Idaho State University’s Holt Arena to the Earl R. Pond Student Union Bengal Theater, the crowd, joined by others who didn’t brave the cold, took a moment to warm up before attending a short program. Many spoke about today being a celebration of King and his dream which has been carried from generation to generation but many speakers fear it has become stagnant.
Michael Pettaway, President of the Pocatello branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People spoke about the current complacency our communities face. He said without “new leadership” we might as well give up. “Those before you are rapidly becoming a dying breed,” said Pettaway. “I’m looking forward to those that will take the torch of freedom before the last embers of freedom burn out.”
Following suit, Jacqualine Thomas, vice president of the Pocatello NAACP and a local pastor, claimed “Pocatello isn’t ready to party.” Thomas painted a stark picture of Pocatello in which she pointed out there are no women judges on the sixth district court circuit, no black doctors, bankers, nurses or lawyers. “Together, and only together can we be whole,” said Thomas.
Pocatello’s Human Relations advisory Committee also took the day to award Edgar Malepeai, an Idaho state senator, for his tireless efforts in human and civil rights. “I’m going to accept this award for you all, because you’re going to carry the torch,” said Malepeai. “We have climbed many mountains, but we still have many to climb,” he added.
Keynote speaker, Amorrow Morgan, an ISU student, highlighted what he thought were the goals for inclusion: passion, sense of community, selflessness, love and faith. “Not only did [Martin Luther King] believe, he died for what he believed in,” said Morgan.
Even Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad spoke up at the event. He said this event is one the city should more often, hailing it for bringing more recognition to pertinent issues.
In the end, it was all about Dr. King. “I really believe that each one of us is different in one way or another and we can learn from that,” said Shaun Stokes, president of the associated students of ISU. “I hope that students of Idaho State University look to Dr. Martin Luther King and use him as an example to become leaders in our lives.”
The ISU Union Program Council will host “Into the Streets: An MLK Remembrance” tomorrow afternoon. You can volunteer with one of three agencies: Head Start from noon to 2 p.m.; Habitat for Humanity from noon to 4 p.m.; or Idaho State Veterans’ Home from 2 to 4 p.m. Volunteers should meet at the Quad Lounge at ISU at noon or 2 p.m.