Ohio University

Take a closer look at OHIO’s 2020 MLK Jr. March and Brunch [PHOTOS]

Published: January 20, 2020 Author: Story by George E. Mauzy Jr.

The 2020 Ohio University Martin Luther King Jr. weeklong celebration, which carries the theme, “Keep Moving Forward,” was kicked off for the 11th consecutive year by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity-sponsored Silent March and Brunch on Monday, Jan. 20.

The annual celebration is sponsored by the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and planned each year by the MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee. OHIO administrators Tyrone Carr and Tamika Williams co-chaired the committee for the second consecutive year. 

More than 250 people, including President M. Duane Nellis, Athens City Mayor Steve Patterson and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Gigi Secuban participated in the Silent March, which began at Galbreath Chapel on College Green and ended at the fourth-floor entrance of Baker University Center.

 

Alpha Phi Alpha March
Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity lead the MLK Jr. Silent March across College Green on Jan. 20, 2020. Photo: Eli Burris

 

After the March, many of the participants attended the 20th annual MLK Jr. Brunch in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

This year’s brunch keynote speaker was OHIO alumnus Dr. Kalvin Harvell, a professor of sociology at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. 

 

MLK co-chairs
MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee co-chairs Tamika WIllams and Tyrone Carr speak at the Galbreath Chapel. Photo: Ben Siegel

 

Before Dr. Harvell spoke, President Nellis, Mayor Patterson and Vice President Secuban shared their thoughts on Dr. King’s legacy and encouraged the audience to follow his teachings on serving mankind and expressing love and mercy to others. The event also featured dance, poetry and singing performances, as well as background music from the local band, Otis Cochran and Company.

 

Evan Young
Rev. Evan Young (right) of United Campus Ministry leads the audience in prayer at Galbreath Chapel. Photo: Ben Siegel

 

During his talk, Dr. Harvell told the audience that after King’s death, Americans have to deal with his unfinished business. He said there are still too many people without clean water and living in poverty.“When Dr. King was here he was strictly business, but now we’re dealing with his unfinished business,” Dr. Harvell said. “In one of his most powerful speeches he talked about the existence of two Americas.”

 

Jason Pina
Dr. Jason Pina (left), OHIO vice president for student affairs, and his wife, Shai, pray before the march. Photo: Ben Siegel

 

He said Dr. King described one America that was magnificent with great and ideal values highlighted by democracy, freedom, justice and equality. Dr. Harvell said King also talked about the real America, where there are people living in poverty without clean water and adequate food.

“We have people who are haves and people who are have-nots,” Dr. Harvell said.

 

Anointed Praise
The Anointed Praise gospel choir performs at the MLK Jr. Brunch at the Baker Center Ballroom. Photo: Eli Burris

 

Dr. Harvell said he is always disappointed when he asks his students who is causing all the problems in America and their answer is the have-nots, a group that includes most of them.

“This happens because we (the have-nots) have been taught to learn from the master’s script that has been given to us by the haves,” Dr. Harvell said. “The most powerful thing is the world is to construct reality and have people accept it even when it’s to their own disadvantage.”

 

Dr. Nellis at MLK Brunch
OHIO President M. Duane Nellis discusses the legacy of Dr. King at the MLK Jr. Brunch. Photo: Ben Siegel

 

After some thought and reflection time, Dr. Harvell said the students eventually realize that maybe it’s the people who make the decisions in America - the haves – who are causing the problems that hold the have-nots back.

Dr. Harvell said we all just want to live a life with dignity and bring good to the world.

 

Jasmine Dabney
Student Jasmine Dabney sings during the 2020 MLK Jr. Brunch. Photo: Eli Burris

 

“If we are going to be critical about this thing, we have to figure out ways to break the system and that is what Dr. King did …” Dr. Harvell said. “He went to jail because he was willing to use his body to make a change. Dr. King was being critical of the American system.”

 

Alphas huddle
Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity share a laugh before hosting the MLK Jr. Brunch. Photo: Ben Siegel

 

In closing, Dr. Harvell charged the audience to keep MLK Jr. Day alive and not forget the feeling they had during the MLK Jr. March or the ideas that he just shared in his speech.

“This should not be the end – don’t leave this place and this be the end,” Dr. Harvell urged. “Continue this, you can have your own walk later on. You should be meeting every week to discuss the ideas of Dr. King, W.E.B. Du Bois and Mary Church Terrell. You have time to do this!”

 

Mayor Steve Patterson
City of Athens Mayor Steve Patterson reflects on Dr. King's life and legacy during the 2020 MLK Jr. Brunch. Photo: Ben Siegel

 

The MLK Jr. Celebration Week continues through Sunday, Jan. 26. For more information, visit https://www.ohio.edu/diversity/dr-mlk-jr-celebration or https://www.ohio.edu/news/2020/01/2020-mlk-jr-celebration-runs-jan-20-26