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Community to participate in MLK march
Olivia Sylvain / Intern
For eight years, UNT students have joined community members in the Martin Luther King Jr. march, an annual event that takes place on the third Monday of January. This year’s event will be held at 4 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the free speech area outside the Union.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Sowing the Seeds,” a reminder of King’s legacy and the importance of spreading it to future generations.
Cheylon Brown, director of the Multicultural Center at UNT, has participated in the march for the past several years. She has witnessed the impact the event has had on students’ lives after meeting with prominent figures in the Denton community.
“Dr. King was a community builder,” Brown said. “He built up the community and that’s exactly what this event does.”
Brown said many UNT alumni, including some of the first African-American graduates, will attend. UNT desegregated in 1954 and had 11 African-American students enroll in 1956.
“One of the goals of the university is to impact the community,” Brown said. “Students may not have the opportunity to meet important community figures if they don’t come to the march.”
According to the Texas State Data Center’s 2011 census, the African-American population in Denton County was 9.9 percent, or about 40,000 people.
The event will be hosted by the members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and will feature a guest speaker. Business junior and Alpha Phi Alpha member Julian Jones believes all UNT students should take part in this day of remembrance.
“We want to continue what Dr. King started and gather people together peacefully.” Jones said.
Following the rally, students will march from UNT to Fred Moore Park located on South Bradshaw Street. They will join Denton community members and continue their march to the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center on Wilson Street at 5 p.m.
City of Denton Recreation Specialist Denesha Factory, who coordinated the event on behalf of the city, said the celebration will close with a guest speaker, musical performances and a dinner provided by local churches.
She said the event has been made possible for several years by donations and volunteers from community organizations throughout Denton.
“I really want the event to be successful and for everyone to have a good time,” Factory said.
Biology senior and Alpha Phi Alpha member Markeisth Scott said he believes the march symbolizes the work of the thousands of civil rights advocates who marched on Washington in 1963.
“It’s not just any other day off,” Scott said. “If Martin Luther King could march for us, why can’t we honor his legacy and march for him?”
Prior to the MLK holiday, the city of Denton will host a day of service and fun for the community at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at Fred Moore Park. The event will include trash pick-up followed by free food and a parade.