GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Hundreds of students turned out Monday to kick off Grand Rapids Community College’s 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration.
By the bus loads the students were dropped off for the community march. Ellen James, a GRCC Trustee said it’s about continuing to inspire and educate the younger generations, as they work to keep Dr. King’s dream alive.
“I think when we look at what has happened over the last 45 years since his death, while we have made a lot of gains there are a lot of things that have eroded and so I think it’s up to us that we as the older generation keep our young people involved,” she said.
Malik Calianty a junior at Northview High School, said it was powerful to see everybody come together despite their age or race.
“We’ve done a lot of great things but there’s a lot more we still have to do and I think us a generation right now we can do a lot to help. I think we have a lot of good things to come in making the world a better place,” he said.
Seventh grader Haley Denton said she was surprised that everyone was actually silent for the march, but she said it showed how serious everyone took it.
“I think it’s a way of uniting us, continuing to unite as a community. I think it’s a way of teaching us tolerance, I think it’s a way of teaching us love and understanding and all of those things that are so important in community,” James said.
The day to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy will continue Monday evening. The events will wrap up at 6:30 p.m. in the GRCC Fieldhouse. They will feature Chuck D, the co-founder of the rap group Public Enemy and an author, activist and publisher who will talk about “The Reality of a Dream.”
The Fisk Jubilee Singers from Nashville, Tenn. will also perform. The event is free and open to the public.