Hundreds of Miami University students and Oxford residents decided to brave the cold Monday morning to celebrate a piece of America’s history-Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
As the clock struck 10 a.m., a march of both students and Oxford residents began, filling the streets and the square at Uptown Park.
The morning began with a program sponsored by Miami University and the Oxford community in conjunction with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. The program at Uptown Park consisted of various speakers and a performance by the Miami University Gospel Singers.
Miami President David Hodge addressed the crowd and reminded everyone that Monday held a historical significance that is still relevant today.
“Martin Luther King Day is a day to celebrate the ideals that Dr. King pursued,” Hodge said. “While his dream was global, the challenge stands with our own nation to help create and maintain a society based on respect.”
Following Hodge, Prue Dana, mayor of Oxford, shared her views and thoughts on the national holiday.
“By being present at the march and the ceremony, we celebrate by taking a day on and not off, and there are people gathered all across the country participating in service events on this day who honor Dr. King by not taking the day off either,” she said.
Miami junior Lauren Meyer explained why she felt it was important to participate in the march.
“People need to keep in mind the reasons behind why we have the day off, because while it’s nice to have an extra day to relax and take some downtime, we need to remember and appreciate the man behind it,” she said.
Flags from 30 different countries surrounded the stage at Uptown Park, each one representing a country where a Miami student has come from. It was designed to signify a diversity of students at Miami.
Another event taking place Monday was a Martin Luther King Day of Service, sponsored by Miami University’s Office of Community Engagement and Service.
Their goal was to honor and remember King by designating it as a day of education, celebration, remembrance and service.
According to www.MLKDay.gov, the MLK Day of Service originated from a 1994 Congressional Act that asked Americans of all backgrounds and ages to celebrate King’s legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action, instead of taking a day off from work or school.