A crowd of Westminster College community members gathered in front of Converse Hall on Jan. 15 for an annual march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Huddled together in unity, the participants wielded signs as they marched together down the streets of Sugar House to give a voice to those who have historically been silenced.
Police officers had the area blocked off, and cars honked in encouragement as the crowd marched down 1300 East, chanting quotes from King and the ideas he fought for.
“What do we want?” they shouted. “Freedom!”
“When do we want it?” they cried. “Now!”
Marco Barker, the associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, said in remarks before the march that the event is important to him because it provides the opportunity to “speak up for those who aren’t heard” and ensure that “diversity and inclusion is a priority.”
Jenn Simonds, a psychology professor at Westminster College, had similar sentiments.
“It’s an opportunity to gather with the community and get behind values of justice,” she said.
Both adults and children from the surrounding community participated in the event.
Marilee Coles-Ritchie, an education professor at Westminster, explained that she brought her family and friends so they can “see what can be done when you work for a change.” She said the event is important for her because it is “working in solidarity for those who can’t. It gives us that opportunity that is so easily missed.”
The rally was one of a number of events celebrating King and his legacy throughout the week. On Thursday, Westminster will co-host a free keynote and Bastian Foundation Diversity Lecture on King at Salt Lake Community College with poet Nikki Giovanni.. On Friday, students can attend a Unity Luncheon in the Tanner Atrium. For full details on events and programming, visit westminstercollege.edu/MLK.