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Hundreds turn out for MLK Day March

Hundreds turn out for MLK Day March

Hundreds turn out for MLK Day March
January 21
20:06 2019

Hundreds of students and community members participated in Monday’s MLK Jr. Day March, which began at the UNT Union and ended at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Center.

The 2.2 mile march was led and organized by the UNT chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity — established in 1906 as the first black collegiate fraternity — in collaboration with the UNT Multicultural Center.

“As you can see today, we’re all gathered here to remember [King’s] legacy and carry it on into the future,” media arts senior Tyler Dozier said. “To kind of break down the racial tension in society nowadays.”

Dozier participated in the march to pay his respects to King and to be involved in the community events that honor him.

“It’s important to remember our history so we can move forward and progress forward, and learn from our history,” Dozier said.

A train brings the marchers to a brief halt outside of Denton’s square during the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. Image by Will Baldwin.

Marchers went down Hickory Street and passed The Square en route to the MLK Jr. Recreation Center. Marchers could be heard chanting phrases such as “No justice, no peace,” and “I have a dream that enough is enough.”

Many of the marchers arrived with posters and flags. Democratic Socialists of America member, 29-year-old Steven Leach, came to the march with a flag representing the organization and said he wants people to remember that King fought for more than racial equality.

“[King’s] legacy, to me, is a vision of the future that’s inclusive [of] everyone,” Leach said. “He was very inclusive in ways that meant financial stability for everyone and a lot of that is represented in democratic socialist views.”

Before the march there was a brunch, panel and day of community service held at UNT in King’s honor. About 100 people attended the different events throughout the day. One of the topics discussed at the brunch was how far America would have come if King had not been assassinated in 1968.

Video by Jessika Hardy.

Accounting junior Kennedy Armstrong participated in the march with the Eagle Angels, a UNT organization. Armstrong said she believes King would have been disappointed because “we still have a long way to go.”

“We need to continue to speak up, continue to fight for our rights, [and] continue to fight for equality for everyone,” Armstrong said.

This year would have been King’s 90th birthday and Armstrong, whose grandmother is 97, said knowing someone in that same age bracket and who experienced the time period during which King was alive puts things into perspective for her.

“He wouldn’t have been that old,” Armstrong said. “Our grandparents went through all of that and we’re still going through things that are similar to it now.”

Hundreds of Dentonites led by members of the UNT’s Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity march through downtown Denton for the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. Image by Will Baldwin.

Jonathan Scruggs, president of the UNT chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, was at the front line of the march with his fraternity brothers. He said he feels a special connection to King since he was also a member of the fraternity.

“It goes to show that he was a man that was a great leader,” Scruggs said. “And that’s one of the things that we pride ourselves in as Alpha men, being a great leader.”

Marchers were met by more community members at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center. The program included speakers, various performances and musical acts. The program was put on by Denton Parks and Recreation.

Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon participated in the march and attended the program for the first time in Denton, and said he was impressed by the turnout.

“It’s all about togetherness,” Dixon said. “[King] said it best, you can’t drive out hate with hate. You’ve got to do it with love.”

Featured Image: Hundreds of Dentonites march through Denton square in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Image by Will Baldwin. 

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Jasmine Robinson

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