Despite freezing temperatures and brisk winds, about 100 Shippensburg University students, faculty, alumni and special guests marched for the 25th consecutive year in the name of humanity on Thursday, Jan. 31.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement, the march was preceded by a presentation complete with singing, dancing, chanting and speaking, all of which were sponsored by the SU Office of Multicultural Affairs and the SU African American Organization.
The CUB MPR housed the preceding events, which began with Jetta Alberts, president of the SU African American Organization, giving her thoughts on the meaning of the march.
“We are here today to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,” Alberts said.
The celebration was evident, as images and quotes from prominent civil rights leaders flashed across the large projector screens around the room during the presentations.
The theme of the event was “One Race. One Humanity. One March.”
Barbara Lyman, SU provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, took the event’s purpose one step further, claiming, “We must do more than march. We will not be able to solve problems if we do not know their dimension.”
Before going on to say 13 percent of the U.S. population was impoverished in 1968, compared to 15 percent today.
“We must creatively address persistent effects of poverty,” Lyman said.
Following Lyman, several students and student organizations gave their take on what the day meant to them, until eventually the keynote speaker, Marvin Worthy, took the stage following an introduction by Alberts.
Worthy, an SU graduate, president and CEO of Worthy Consulting and Training, and a recipient of multiple awards for his humanitarian efforts, began his remarks by saying he was speaking at the March for Humanity “not out of obligation but out of expectation.”
“Dare to do more than enough so the dream can take part in all areas of this nation,” Worthy said.
Upon continuing with a brief synopsis of King and his work, Worthy began to tell a vivid story that focused on King viewing the U.S. from an aerial view, “the view of a king,” as Worthy explained it.
Worthy described King’s view of the people of the U.S. as showing sacrifice, service and selflessness for themselves and one another.
Eventually, Worthy painted a darker picture for the audience, detailing King’s view of the difficulties of war, drug use, disease and a struggling economy.
“My charge for you today is to understand and to embrace the following: You are the dream. You are the promise. You are the leaders. Include and not exclude. March,” Worthy said as his closing remarks.
Following his speech, supporters set out to march.
Starting down Cumberland Drive and traveling around the central portion of campus, the marchers chanted, waved signs and smiled.
“We have marched today because they marched. Regardless of the weather conditions, they marched. It may be bitter cold outside, but we must march,” Worthy said.
The March for Humanity was the final of three SU events honoring the legacy of King.