March to the Majestic honors MLK Day

Libby Dunn, Staff Writer

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Wayne State College presented a “March to the Majestic” to students and community members of Wayne Monday night in honor of Martin Luther King Junior Day.

While the original plan of the event was to march as a group to the Majestic Theatre, the below freezing temperatures made that nearly impossible for participants. Instead, participants were invited to ride a bus to the Majestic Theatre in downtown Wayne to see the movie “Loving” and engage in discussion.

“The March to the Majestic commemorates the life of Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Dr. Barbara Engebretsen, co-chair of the President’s Council on Diversity, who believes this is an especially important year to celebrate Martin Luther King Junior because April 4 will be the 50th anniversary of his death.

Along with the President’s Council on Diversity, the other co-sponsors of the event included the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), the Black Student Association (BSA) and the Majestic Theatre. The event was also funded by Wayne State College Service-Learning.

“I think the March to the Majestic was a really important event, especially for us student athletes, because I think student athletes on campus are one of the most educated (groups of people) on diversity just because a lot of diverse students are athletes,” said senior Katelyn Wobken, president of the Student Athlete Advisory Council. “But it’s so awesome to get the community involved and kind of come together on such a hot topic. Dr. Engebretsen did a good job coordinating this event and we were excited to help out.”

While the President’s Council on Diversity carried it out, the original idea of the March to the Majestic came from WSC senior Isaiah Sims from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“The original idea of the march came from back home, and I took it upon myself to just say look, we don’t really do much here (at Wayne State),” Sims said. “Back home, Martin Luther King Day is a real holiday, and I really feel like we actually celebrate the day. I brought the issue to the President’s Council on Diversity, and they discussed options of what to do, and decided on this.”

After buses from campus and community locations arrived at the Majestic Theatre, the free showing of “Loving” took place. The 2016 film is based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who were arrested and imprisoned in 1958 under the Virginia law that prohibited interracial marriage.

“The movie ‘Loving’ showed that it doesn’t always take a lot of people to make a difference,” freshman Robyn Isom said. “It just takes a few people who truly care to make a change. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a fantastic example of this, as are the Lovings.”

A total of 130 people participated in the event. While not all of them rode the bus to the theatre, many showed up to watch the movie and engage in the discussion.

“I’m really happy with the turnout we ended up having, and I’m actually kind of surprised,” Sims said. “I knew there were going to be some people, but when we added the discussion with the movie, it was like wow, that’s huge. At the end of the day, I’m like, we really did a great thing here.”

After the showing of the movie, participants were invited to engage in discussion about the other events that will be happening throughout this semester. Under the same theme of “Art of Civil Discourse,” Kim Roth Howe of Co-Creative Labs in Omaha will be co-facilitating Campus Community Conversations on Feb. 13 at the Frey Suite on campus.

“The main objective of the event is to bring campus and community members together to begin learning the ‘Art of Civil Discourse,’” Engebretsen said.

Quinneka Lee, advisor of the Black Student Association, said that the members, along with the President’s Council on Diversity, are focused on being proactive by doing more events because they interact with many different students.

“ . . . it’s important we honor and celebrate how far we’ve come,” Lee said. “This is a new opportunity for us to come together for a time of reflection. I’m looking forward to the continuation of this program and it’s nice to see we’re doing more as an institution than just one day of remembrance.”

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