The “MLK March” on Ball State University’s campus was more than honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s long-term vision – it was also a representation of voices echoing for diversity and inclusion.
From 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., members across the Muncie community walked from Ball State’s Student Center to the Shafer Tower and back; advocating for justice and equality for all.
Music played and signs with Martin Luther King Jr. quotes were waved in the hands of participants of the event, as they marched on Ball State roads.
Such a march encompassed several Ball State students who came in support of the event, including fourth-year student and social work major Jared Martin, who felt his presence at the march spoke to his role as a Black social worker.
“Representation really matters, especially in the field that, as a social worker, is white predominantly, but serves a predominantly Black community,” Martin said. “So I felt as a Black male, it’s important for me to join the fight, for freedom, for equal rights and just around human autonomy.”
Similarly, fourth-year student and health education and promotion major Nia Jameson felt a strong calling to march alongside her community, due to her major and involvement in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
“Growing up, I did not see a lot of people who looked like me in health care, and so I think it’s very important for everyone to have a seat at the table,” Jameson said. “That’s why I joined my organization, because we make sure that everyone has a seat at the table, and make sure that you’re heard.”
The march was put together by the MLK Planning Committee, which includes the Multicultural Center Interim Director and 2018 Ball State graduate Gabby Lloyd, as a recurring event during each Unity Week at Ball State.
Following the “MLK Celebration Breakfast”, the march recurs each year during Unity Week, with this year being the 43rd appearance of the event. The timeliness of Martin Luther King Jr.’s impact on human society continues to this day, as people like Lloyd continue uplifting his dream for mass equality.
“When we’re talking about inclusion and unity, I think it’s beautiful that we celebrate it on Martin Luther King [Jr.] Day, because that’s what he stood for,” Lloyd said. “We’re continuing the march, continuing the legacy of Martin Luther King [Jr.] in unity throughout the Unity Week.”
The march is only the beginning of Unity week, kicking off a weekly series of events. Such events include and are not limited to: the “MLK Speaker” event Jan. 17, Asian Student Union Sushi Night Jan. 19, and Latinxpalooza Jan. 20.
For Lloyd, the march and Unity Week in general serve as reminders that Ball State hears all voices and represents all sorts of different groups.
“We’re all different and that’s what makes us beautiful,” Lloyd said. “We really want students to feel like they have a voice and that they can find people who are their people.”