Community events honor MLK Day

Mitchell Grogg

Bowling Green residents marched downtown Monday to commemorate the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. The march was followed by a speaker who talked about how she was affected firsthand by racial violence.

Louisville junior Joshua Miller said the march was a great symbolization. Miller marched in the parade with his brothers from Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

“I’m glad to be out here with everyone in the community, as well as Western students and Bowling Green community alike,” he said.

Miller noted his own connection to King.

“Alpha Phi Alpha — we’re one of the organizations in the forefront of the Civil Rights movement, as well as Martin Luther King, Jr. is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Incorporated.”

Participants marched from the Warren County Justice Center to State Street Baptist Church, led by a banner reading, “Remember the Dream.”

The church hosted Dorothy Parker Jarrett, the cousin of Emmett Till, a Chicago teenager whose murder helped spark the Civil Rights movement and King’s involvement in it.

“The catalyst for his getting involved was the murder of Emmett Till,” she said.

The events of the day also included a breakfast at Parker Bennett Curry Elementary School.

Martha Sales, who teaches African American Studies at WKU and is the director of the TRIO program, spoke at the breakfast.

The TRIO program aims to assist first generation college students and low income members of the community with college enrollment.

Sales said improvements as well as activism in the community are important, but that changes must begin at home. She said people should ensure that they raise their own children correctly rather than focusing on others.

“Let’s start in our own front door,” she said.

Ryan Burnam, chairman of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Planning Committee of Bowling Green, which organized the events, said he did not want people to forget King’s actions, and to take note of others involved in the Civil Rights movement.

“I know Martin Luther King was a big role, but there are other people who had their place in it,” he said.

Burnam also said these events are to ensure that people continue to remember the pursuit of civil rights decades after King’s death.

To ensure advancement, Jarrett stressed education when she spoke at the event.

“Education is what will change the trajectory of students’ lives, and with education, we become a more tolerant society,” she said. “We become more in-tuned to working with one another, and that’s what’s going to move us forward.”