Hundreds of students, staff gather at University Center to march, remember Martin Luther King Jr.



Pontiac Junior Octavia Carson sings "Lift Every Voice" at the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday. Carson, a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma, attended the march with some of her sorority sisters. (Catherine Traylor | Staff Reporter)

Pontiac Junior Octavia Carson sings “Lift Every Voice” at the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday. Carson, a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma, attended the march with some of her sorority sisters. (Catherine Traylor | Staff Reporter)

Snowy weather, icy sidewalks and below-freezing temperatures were no match for hundreds of people during Central Michigan University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March.

The march, which began in the Bovee University Center, circled campus and ended with a vigil downtown, aiming to bring awareness and action against racism in America.

Some CMU students believe the topic of race is a prevalent issue in society today.

“There’s evidence of racism everywhere,” said Marie Reimers, president of the Student Government Association. “That’s proven just in asking a person of color if they can name a situation in which they’ve experienced racism. The answer is almost always ‘yes.’”

Reimers referred to recent political and social acts to further explain the presence of racism in the U.S. today.

“The Supreme Court rolling back the Voting Rights Act, the fact that one of three black men will be incarcerated in their lifetime and voter ID laws are just a few examples,” the Saginaw junior said. “We can see (racism) all over the place, and that’s why it’s so important on days like this to choose to reflect and start fighting (racism) again.”

Southfield senior Danielle Cook said she sees events such as the march as a step in the right direction.

“In America, we aren’t a post-racial society,” Cook said. “There’s still disproportionate inequalities between races, but I think we’re getting there. I think we’re on a path. It’s just about people getting together every year, remembering people like Martin Luther King Jr. and what he stood for, and really trying to live that every day.”

Cook, a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma, a historically Latina-based sorority, said racism can impact anybody and awareness is key.

“As a black woman at CMU and in 2014, I think it’s really exciting for events like this to be widely publicized at a university,” she said. “It’s a testament to our character that so many people actually show up when they could just take a day off and not do anything.”

To students who didn’t take the time to acknowledge MLK Jr. Day, Reimers had one thing to say.

“I would ask you to re-examine history and re-examine your place in history,” she said. “Especially to our white students, to know how significant this day is to our colleagues of color, and the role that it played in history. It’s not just a day that we have off – it’s a day that you need to take the time to reflect on where you are and what your goal of ending racism is.”

For one CMU student, the march has a deeper meaning.

“Coming to events like this lets me know that other people appreciate this day. It’s not just a ‘black thing,’” said Sydni Lockhart, a Detroit senior. “It’s something that we can all come together to embrace. Dr. King started the march, but we’re continuing it every day.”

One Comment

  1. michmediaperson says:

    Several comments.
    1. Only a couple hundred showed up? Out of what 17,000 students. Plus, 700-800 unionized faculty. Do you realize about 1/10th of 1 percent showed up.

    In fact, if CMU has let’s say 1500 minority students, faculty and staff members, the vast majority of them didn’t show up to pay homage to a great man like Dr. King.

    The former CM LIFE editor left that out of the story. About 99.9 percent of the university community stayed home or went skiing. Pretty sad!

    Perhaps, it was the lack of diverse speakers. No one who thinks like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Only the radical thinkers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

    Now, to Marie Reimers’ quotes. Where do you even begin.
    One in three black males incarcerated.
    Ms. Reimers, have you looked at the murder rates in this country? The black on black crime. Have you?
    Let’s look at New York City, Jan.-June 2013, per New York City Police and the New York Daily News. You can google this.

    153 murders
    63.8 pct black
    23.7 pct Hispanic

    Arrested for murders
    70 pct black (they killed some white folks)
    25.4 pct Hispanic

    Ms. Reimers, when a black male murders another black person, what would you suggest we do? Let them out of prison on a misdemeanor? When minority males rape women, are we suppose to put them in prison or let them out immediately on a misdemeanor? Perhaps, you and the former CM LIFE Editor could tell us.

    The problems facing the black community today are:
    1. Record unemployment after 5 years of Barack Hussein Obama.
    2. Black on black epidemic murders and serious crimes.
    3. Unwed mothers.
    4. Bad unionized public schools that are supported by the Democratic Party and the NAACP.
    5. Black street gangs
    6. Obama has hurt blacks economically. In fact, PBS TV Host Travis Smiley even admitted this on Sean Hannity’s show a couple months ago.

    No mention from you about the racism whites face when black youth play the “Knockout” game on white folks. Isn’t that racism?????? Dr. King would be shocked and hurt if he saw this today.

    Blacks, more than whites, oppose Gay Marriage. Is this racism? Gays are being arrested in Uganda for being gay? Is this racist?

    I suppose Kwame Kilpatrick’s problems is because of racism. The poor guy is sitting in prison. Likewise, with Jesse Jackson, Jr. sitting in jail for misuing campaign funds.

    Dr. King was a great man. It’s too bad what CMU does on his day. I can’t understand how the liberal faculty who wanted the day off 10 years ago doesn’t even show up for events. Pretty sad image liberal unionized faculty portray itself to be.

    In addition, to end racism, do these speakers and Ms. Traylor support ending racist affirmative action and start hiring and promoting people based on merit, instead of race????

    Perhaps, Ms. Traylor and Ms. Reimers and the rest of the liberal women could answer the questions.

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