I have had many great experiences here at Grand Valley and today was no exception. In observance of one of the world’s greatest leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., I took pride in marching side by side with the wonderful people of this community. Demonstrating our strength and solidarity, we braved the cold and wind to honor someone who fought so much adversity for something we take for granted sometimes, equality.
As we continued to walk over the Little Mac Bridge and past Padnos Hall, I felt a sense of purpose and took comfort in the fact that even though I didn’t know many in this crowd, I felt at home on this campus.
From young and old, men and women, to people of all races and backgrounds, I realized we make up this university. As we approached the end of our silent march, we were led into an event hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. A fascinating civil rights author and documentary filmmaker by the name of Judy Richardson, reflected on Dr. King’s message and how that translated into the freedoms we enjoy today, especially at a college institution. Judy words made an immediate impact on me as she spoke about her latest documentary piece, Scarred Justice, which examined the tragedy of the Orangeburg Massacre at South Carolina State College. An event that I never knew had happened and a violent incident many overlooked during the civil rights movement.
This day left an impression on me that will stick forever. As a society we hope that the tragic things that happened throughout history don’t repeat themselves. But it takes an open mind, dedication, unity and leadership to continue to grow. I learned so much from so many just by walking, listening, and observing. Today made me think broader, look further and build stronger relationships. I know I can be a better leader and I’m proud to be a Laker. It’s funny how before today I thought my only classrooms were within four walls, but I realized I have learned so much here at Grand Valley outside of them too.