The Black Student Union at Bellevue College held a series of events from Jan. 20 to the 24th in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, one of the many leaders in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Events this week included the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Rally and March, an MLK sit-in, keynote speaker Dr. Derrick Brooms, and a presentation by Dr. Derek Greenfield.
Dr. King was born on Jan. 15, 1929 and is known for his nonviolent strategies to end segregation. He was a pastor, activist and a humanitarian. On Oct. 14, 1964 he received the Nobel Peace prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. King was assassinated while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee. He was there to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers on April 4, 1968.
Events varied from bussing students from BC to a march in Seattle, to holding sit-ins and having a speaker come in to talk to students about MLK.
On Monday, BC took students to Seattle to participate in the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Rally and March that met at Garfield High School and went as far as Westlake mall. Tradon Jordan, events manager for the BSU, says that the march was a way for people to “come together and connect” everyone as a whole and not just one type of group.
The BSU made posters that related to the style back in the day for the sit-in on Tuesday. Jordan says that they surprised people with flash skits. BSU students walked into the Student Union holding signs and re-enacting events to get reactions and seeing how people would relate by opening up discussions and getting people talking.
Joel Allen, BSU treasurer, says that people were definitely surprised by the sit-in and wanted to see more. Allen says he would have liked to have seen more people attend the events during the week and may have advertised it differently. An idea mentioned was wearing a suit on campus to attract students to what he is promoting.
Interim Director of Multicultural Services, Aaron Reader, says MLK day is a day of “reflection on where we came from as a society and where we are headed.” The day represents “hope and resiliency, and the work we need to do.” Reader says that if MLK was still alive that we would still be where we are, however, Dr. King wouldn’t be satisfied; he would be disappointed in a few areas such as education and social economic status that we are “still fighting” for today.
Part of the agenda for Dr. Derrick Brooms on Thursday was about Dr. King’s radicalism and political activism “both of which far exceed the King as a dreamer mirage.” Dr. Brooms will also touch on King’s Brotherhood Philosophy, and will be opening up a wider lens to view Dr. King’s legacy beyond ways he is known for today. The takeaway from the BSU’s events were community and coming together as one. For more information on BSU, their organization and MLK, please visit the Student Programs office inC212.