On the tiny spot of Denison University on a college hill, there is a lot of roar for Martin Luther King Jr.
On Monday, January 29th, Denison’s campus hosted events and invited speakers in honor of the activist’s extreme impact on campus life. Not only is the day dedicated to his influence, but it is also dedicated to service. Events included community service for organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Humane Society and local Children’s Hospitals.
In addition to these service opportunities, many people could find his ideals are deeply rooted in our campus culture, and within our student body. Moreso, Martin Luther King Jr. has influenced and impacted our students on a personal level. Here are some accounts on the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. to individual Denison students, and his importance to the Denison Community.
“As an African American woman, sometimes I look myself in the mirror and ask myself, ‘Am I living the dream—his dream?’ Because of his activism, I realize and understand that my black body isn’t just for the American Society to dispose. I understand my worth and the potential value this nation can uphold.
“Here’s what I know: I must not talk with only my mouth but talk with my responsibility to act upon things that are unjust, unequal, and inequitable. I must not fight with only my intellect but fight the wrongs with caring and giving hands. I must not hear with only my ears but hear with the grace and better judgement of my heart. I must not see with only my eyes but see with the dreams that are indeed the small hidden objects painted in the reality in front of our faces. I must believe. I must believe in generational change. Do you?
“I’m beyond elated and proud to be part of an educational institution that truly realizes the global impact of Martin Luther King Jr. Many college campuses vocalize their gratefulness of MLK but they don’t act on it— Denison acts. At Denison, we celebrate him with various community services activities at the end of January despite school closure for winter break,” said Traeona Brinston ‘21, an environmental studies major from Atlanta.
Many students believe in the legacy of Dr. King, but know that the work he did is just the beginning steps toward a world of equality.
“There is still an invisible barrier, but Martin Luther King Jr.’s idea of equality makes me, an international student, feel like there’s more equal opportunity,” said Ivy Wang ‘21, from Zhejiang, China.
Still, his movement has become an anthem to students on and off campus, especially for those who know how hard it is to stand up for what is right.
“I think it’s really interesting that a lot of people don’t really talk about the history behind Martin Luther King Jr. He’s very celebrated now, but in the 60’s he was regarded by the government as a criminal and a rebel. He did many great things, but since the government decided that he was bad, they criminalized his movement. I think it’s important that he is celebrated because he stood up for people during a time when African American activism was regarded as criminal, and that’s important to me. He’s a very good model of standing up for what’s right no matter the circumstance,” said Catie Carter ‘21 from Gladstone, New Jersey.
The celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. is important, influential, peaceful, and intellectual. Those attributes of his movement still live on today, in many different forms, on Denison’s campus and nationwide.