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Intercultural Center holds MLK Day celebration

Published on January 23, 2023

Intercultural Center holds MLK Day celebration

Students create MLK-inspired arts and crafts in the Intercultural Center.

In a celebration of the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Intercultural Center on Jan. 18 provided a platform for students to reflect on some of King’s most renowned speeches, learn new insights about social justice and the civil rights movement, and connect with others from diverse cultural backgrounds.

“MLK Day is really important, not only for the Black community, but for everybody,” said Illyassou Diallo, a sophomore health sciences major. “He’s done so many important things for everyone. If it wasn't for his work in the civil rights movement, many of us would not be here today.”

Diallo continued to say that it is crucial for members of every cultural, racial and ethnic group to celebrate the life of Dr. King. She suggested conducting research on the history surrounding MLK’s integral role in establishing racial equality by opposing the oppression of the African American community throughout the 1960s.

“You’d be surprised by the amount of people who don’t know about MLK’s work and legacy,” said Diallo. “A lot of people don’t even know the implications that his actions had on the cultural landscape of our nation.”

Students gather in the Intercultural Center to celebrate MLK Day.

From left to right: Illyassou Diallo, Taquan Goodwin Johnson and Mikahlia Harris

Students take part in MLK Day activities.

The celebration was held two days after the Jan. 16 national holiday in honor of Dr. King, which occurred during winter break. “Even though the holiday had already passed, it’s always nice to discuss the history behind this important day,” said Josh Sumrell, the Intercultural Center’s director. “We held this event in order to honor and share Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with the entire Eastern community.”

Makahlia Harris, a junior communication major, said, “This event brings attention to a Black figure, who incited necessary changes within our nation’s outlook on race relations. Sadly, a lot of stories regarding Black heroes have been ignored or brushed over for generations. So, it’s nice to see an event like this on campus.”

Unsurprisingly, many individuals who attended the event, such as sophomore Taquan Goodwin Johnson and senior Janelle Edwards, shared that sentiment.

“As we continue to learn about his legacy and the legacy of others, it’s also important for Eastern to continue holding these types of celebrations and events for others,” said Sumrell. “It’s a great way to make everyone feel included.”

Written by Jack Jones