‘We do it together’: Local organizations celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Tucker Covey

Members of the Bowling Green Middle School Black Male Scholars program attend the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration service at State Street Baptist Church on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.

Bailey Reed, News reporter

Jonesville Academy students and members of the Black Male Scholars program took to the streets to march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the chilly Bowling Green air on the morning of Monday, Jan. 16. 

The community of Bowling Green joined them by both partaking in and spectating the march, an event which was organized by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee.

The march was prefaced by a pancake breakfast at Jonesville Academy. Following the breakfast, the march started at the Warren County Justice Center, and ended at State Street Baptist Church. The Jonesville Academy students and Black Male Scholars served as the grand marshals for the parade.

As the crowd began their march, they sang songs such as “Woke Up This Morning,” a traditional church hymn. 

“I think Martin Luther King Jr. Day is important because he was a civil rights activist who helped people form their own opinion and have their own beliefs,” Tre Thomas, an 11-year-old Black Male Scholar said.

 “Martin Luther King was a great success for Black people,” Anthony Davis, another 11-year-old member of the Black Male Scholars, said. 

Students participating in the memorial march emphasized how important they believed it was to celebrate this national holiday.

“We celebrate the things he [King] did when he was alive,” Houston Hardin, a 9-year-old Jonesville Academy student, said. 

Students from WKU were also in attendance to support the event. 

“I think it’s important to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day because if we don’t support and we don’t celebrate, then all the work he did, and everyone who followed him did will one day just go away,” Taylor Davis, a senior exercise major and Alpha Kappa Alpha member, said. 

State Street Baptist Church was packed to the brim as community members filed in for the church service with guest speaker Stacy Spencer, WKU alumnus and pastor of the New Direction Christian Church. 

Stained glass at State Street Baptist Church during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. (Tucker Covey)

Martha Sales, WKU Dean of Students and assistant vice president for Student Life was also a keynote speaker for the event.

 “WKU needs you,” Sales said. “It’s 2023, so come climb with me. We have so much more to do. How do we do it? We do it together.”

After honoring the Jonesville Academy students and Black Male Scholars with the 2023 Humanitarianism Award, Stacy Spencer took to the altar under the light of the stained glass windows to preach. 

“There is only one race […]the human race,” Spencer said. Spencer then explained that he understands the battle for equality can be taxing. 

“Everywhere we move, we are in a cloud of racism,” Spencer said. 

Spencer closed out his sermon strong, describing the importance of Jonesville Academy.

“That’s why this school, [Jonesville Academy], is so important,” Spencer said. “You’re raising young scholars, you’re raising young black men to know that they are worthy, to know that they are intelligent, to know that they are scholars.”

News reporter Bailey Reed can be reached at [email protected]