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Salem MLK Day walk evokes themes of diversity, engaging younger generations

Members and friends of the Salem community commemorated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday by participating in a symbolic march through downtown Winston-Salem on Monday, January 20.
Salem MLK Day walk evokes themes of diversity, engaging younger generations

Local activist Rev. Dr. Willa Reid encourages students to get involved.

Members and friends of the Salem community commemorated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday by participating in a symbolic march through downtown Winston-Salem on Monday, January 20.

 

The sun was bright, but a winter morning chill greeted participants as Salem College Professor Krishauna Hines-Gaither welcomed the diverse group assembled on the front steps of Salem College's Main Hall. Hines-Gaither said she hoped "Salem's involvement in today's event would contribute toward efforts to create a community that is deliberately inclusive, that honors diversity, and continues to march on with the activism of every Salem member."

 

Diversity and helping younger generations never forget hard-fought freedoms were common themes among the several speakers who set the tone for the morning march, including Salem College student Kenysha Clear, who leads the campus organization, BADU (Black Americans Demonstrating Unity) that organized the 2014 event.

 

"Our generation often feels disconnected from our historical roots,” Clear said. “Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. and participating in community events help us to appreciate what others went through in order for us to be here today."

 

The brief speeches were concluded by words from The Rev. Dr. Willa Reid, local activist and a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, who encouraged the young students present to leave the sidelines and get involved in making a difference in their communities.

 

With bright blue skies before them, the group walked en masse up Main Street in Old Salem’s historic district to the M.C. Benton Convention Center (301 W. 5th Street) for the City’s annual MLK Jr. Commemoration service. This year’s public event included a keynote address by Congressman G. K. Butterfield from North Carolina's 1st District, who is also a former North Carolina Supreme Court Judge.

 

Participants in Salem's MLK Jr. Day Walk included Salem students, faculty, staff, and friends. Salem College basketball coach Anita Howard brought the entire Salem Spirits team. First-year player Alexihonna Bush of Fayetteville, N.C., said, "It just seemed like the right thing to do."

 

Juante Randalman, a house counselor at Salem Academy and a student in Special Education Teaching at Winston-Salem State University, joined the Salem College walk because she wanted to remember this day in a spirit of diversity.

 

"Being around more diverse people, demonstrating unity and walking together is what Martin Luther King Jr. intended," she said.

 

Posted: January 20, 2014