OSU and Stillwater unite to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Friday, January 15, 2021
Oklahoma State University will host a march to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 2 p.m. Monday at the Spears School of Business.
There will be some brief speeches, including a message from OSU President Burns Hargis, and songs at the start of the march, setting the tone for this acknowledgement of Dr. King and the civil rights movement. The first 200 people in attendance will receive an “I have a dream” face covering.
Stillwater Community United is planning a march that will link up with the OSU campus march. That march will begin at 12:30 p.m. at Southern Woods Park, progress through downtown, up Duck Street and to the OSU campus, where marchers plan to hand off a banner to OSU student body representatives outside Spears Business.
The march is part of a weeklong MLK celebration that begins with a community service project Monday morning at the OSU Family Resource Center. The march will end at The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, where the winners of the Celebrating Black Lives Art Contest will be announced.
Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Institutional Diversity Dr. Jason Kirksey said OSU’s celebration week honoring Dr. King exemplifies the university’s efforts to embrace inclusion and combat racism.
“May we continue to shine as a beacon of light, filled with hope, optimism and elevated expectations within and beyond our campus community,” he said. “[OSU Housing and Residential Life Director] Dr. Leon McClinton and the committee are to be applauded for their willingness to call the OSU community to action through a day of service and the Unity March in collaboration with Stillwater Community United reflects the embodiment of Dr. King’s words and legacy.
”Additionally, expanding the breadth of this weeklong celebration through the [scholarship] essay contest creates a meaningful and transformative community engagement opportunity for the university. Establishing this week of celebration represents the start of a welcomed and meaningful tradition at OSU and within the city of Stillwater.”
McClinton added: “We are currently living in a society that is divided, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought and died for unity. Our students are the future leaders of this country, and I think this celebration can be a catalyst in bringing people with vast differences together.”
On Tuesday, the university will continue its MLK celebration with a virtual keynote address by history professor Dr. Brandy Thomas Wells and the announcement of the essay contest winner for the newly created Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. OSU Scholarship. The keynote address and announcement will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. Tuesday on OState.TV.
“Dr. Wells is an outstanding OSU faculty member and scholar who brings a wealth of knowledge and fresh perspectives to the revitalization of an invaluable and essential conversation around the future of race, social justice and community advancement,” Kirksey said.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts will host a special screening of the movie “Selma,” which portrays the movement to secure equal voting rights and the historic civil rights era march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
The showing, which is sponsored by the Ferguson College of Agriculture and the Residence Hall Association, will be simulcast inside the venue and on the adjacent plaza. To maintain social distance, tickets are required and can be accessed through the McKnight Center website. Use the promo code MLK2021 to reserve free seats.
Caileb Booze, an Edmond, Oklahoma native and senior who recently finished his term as the first Black president of the Interfraternity Council, will also speak at Monday’s campus march. He said his hope is that students leave OSU equipped with the knowledge and confidence to affect change in their lives and careers.
“I think this celebration is significant because it represents a very intentional response by the university and the greater Stillwater community to recognize its role in achieving effective and meaningful change for all of us,” he said. “We’re having necessary conversations, but we’re not stopping there. We’re taking the next steps and direct action to build real progress and change, not just here at Oklahoma State, but in the world.”
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