March for Love and Kindness

Stephanie Toone

The piercing cold and snow flurries could not keep Bowling Green sophomore Shante Hatchett and her Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters from marching on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Though there were complaints about the weather conditions at first, Hatchett said she and her sisters realized it could have been worse.

“There’s been plenty of times people had to march in the rain,” she said. “Plus we didn’t have anything thrown at us. There were times when people marched and had things thrown at them.”

Hatchett and hundreds of others remembered the struggles of Martin Luther King Jr. and others involved in the civil rights movement on Monday. The breakfast at Girl’s Inc., the march from the Bowling Green Justice Center to Van Meter Hall and the convocation at Van Meter all celebrated the life of King.

Hatchett said her favorite part of the day was the musical tribute that included a dramatic presentation of King’s life.

“(I liked) how they did the ‘remember whens’ (of King’s life),” Hatchett said. “It made us look back and remember where we’ve come from.”

She said many young people today do not appreciate the importance of the civil rights movement.

“For example, so many people go to the back of the bus when so many people have fought for us to sit where we wanna sit,” Hatchett said.

She said the events of the day made her appreciate the rights she received because of the civil rights movement even more.

“I just hope that everyone who attended will tell somebody so that people will not just today, but other days, go out and do something in the community,” she said.

Bowling Green resident Jesse Henderson, 61, agreed.

“Don’t just sit around and allow things to happen,” he said. “Your community represents you.”

Henderson said Rev. Joe Sullivan, the speaker at the memorial breakfast, spread the message of involvement to the almost 250 people at Girl’s Inc.

“Everybody needs to be involved in their community no matter how small or large it is,” Henderson said.

C.J. Woods, director for the Office of Diversity Programs, said the community was very involved in the holiday.

“I think we have diligently kept the dream alive,” he said. “We have had great participation from the community, the students, the city officials and state officials.”

Mayor Sandy Jones and President Gary Ransdell were both present at the convocation featuring keynote speaker Dr. Julia Hare.

Woods said there was about 600 people in the Van Meter auditorium when Hare gave her speech, “Unity, Economics and Empowerment.”

Woods said Hare’s words were humorous and thought-provoking.

Bowling Green sophomore Chris Sullivan said he learned a lot from Hare’s message.

“The message that was given today was that there is a lot of improvements that need to be made,” he said. “I’m glad that there has been some accomplishments, but I know there’s a long road ahead.”

Sullivan said the march and the convocation brought unity to the city.

“If the great Martin Luther King was here, he would really feel a great accomplishment,” he said. “Both blacks and whites merging together as one big mass.”

Reach Stephanie Toone at [email protected]