MLK Day events seek to keep the Rev.’s name alive

David Pollard, a friend of Multicultural Affairs from Houston, discussed civil rights, segregation, and presented MLK’s 1961 speech at an event in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center. Brooke Giacin | Multimedia Journalist

By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer

The City of Waco hosted a variety of events and service-based activities that began on Thursday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day with events slated throughout the upcoming week.

These events include a special Neighbor Night for MLK Day hosted by Better Together Tuesday evening and an annual luncheon on Wednesday in Cashion Academic Center. A guest speaker attended Neighbor Nights, and did an impersonation of Martin Luther King Jr.

While the holiday served as a day off from classes for Baylor students, many found themselves a part of various celebrations of the life of Dr. King.

To kick off the weekend, Black Justice, an event hosting speakers and poetry, was held Thursday evening at First Presbyterian Church of Waco. A wreath laying ceremony was held Friday morning at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, and Baylor students worked with Baylor Campus Kitchen on Saturday morning to prepare lunches that were then delivered to volunteers throughout the day on Monday.

St. Louis senior Riley Howard, Better Together Civic Interfaith Leader, said she feels that the holiday is a good moment of celebration and remembrance.

“It’s really important to remember some of the victories along the way just so that people don’t get dragged down in all the negative,” Howard said.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day itself consisted of volunteer events throughout the duration of the day. The day started out with a peace march through Indian Spring Park, an MLK program at Jubilee Theatre, service at various gardens and the Brazos River Cleanup. The day ended with a candlelight vigil at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.

“What we do is we incorporate into the candlelight vigil young people or other people who have made significant contributions to our society, especially with the youth,” candlelight vigil coordinator Coque Johnson-Gibson said. “We want them to be more involved.”

Many organizations were involved with the coordinating of these events including the Global Revive and Community Race Relations Coalition, Baylor Campus Kitchen, Zeta Phi Beta sorority, Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, Mission Waco, Keep Waco Beautiful, Waco Paddle Company, Act Locally Waco and the Baylor Department of Multicultural Affairs.

“I do not want Dr. King’s name to be out of sight, out of mind,” Johnson-Gibson said. “That’s why we continue it every year – to keep our children and the community abreast on where we are now from whence we came and how we got here.”