The Chadron State College Diversity Committee is hosting the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March Jan. 20.
The march will begin at Common Cents at the corner of Main Street and Highway 20 at 11 a.m. Participants will walk from Common Cents to the college’s Student Center.
Prior to the march, at 10 a.m., Rachel Johnson, with the Northwest Community Action Partnership, will give a presentation in the CSC Student Center Bordeaux-Lakota room.
Serving others through volunteerism is the topic of her remarks. She will also host a question-and-answer session about needs and opportunities to volunteer in Dawes County. Her agency is sponsoring a canned food drive through Jan. 20 and she invites the campus community to contribute.
Johnson said, "One on my favorite quotes is, 'Volunteers don't necessarily have the time, they just have the heart.' We know college students have the heart and we invite them to be active volunteers in this community while they are here attending school. There are so many places to serve and it is to their advantage because volunteers have, on average, 27 percent higher odds of securing a job than non-volunteers."
Dr. David A. Nesheim, assistant professor of history and member of the Diversity Committee, said “Martin Luther King left a legacy of doing for others, and MLK Day is recognized as a day of service. Our community understands the value in volunteering, as was made clear during the October blizzard. The Jan. 20 events will recognize the legacy of Dr. King, highlight the role of volunteers in our community, and offer a forum to discuss the ways that CSC students can continue to give back.”
In previous years, marchers have walked to the campus listening to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. This year, marchers will be listening to excerpts of Dr. King’s “Drum Major Instinct” speech.
The “Drum Major Instinct” was Dr. King's last public speech. It was given from the pulpit of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, in February of 1968. King’s sermon was an adaptation of the 1952 homily ‘‘Drum-Major Instincts’’ by J. Wallace Hamilton.
The march is expected to last about 20 minutes. Refreshments and the opportunity to reflect afterward will be provided at the CSC Student Center. Shuttle service for students, faculty, and staff will be available from the Student Center to Common Cents starting at 10:30 a.m.
Laure Sinn, coordinator of Student Activities and a member of the Diversity Committee, said that the speech is as relevant today, maybe even more so than it was 50 years ago.
King warned that the desire for self-importance can lead to ‘‘snobbish exclusivism’’ and ‘‘tragic race prejudice.”
Other topics covered in the speech include the War in Vietnam, conspicuous consumption, gossip, and man’s inhumanity to man.
King concluded the February 1968 sermon by mentioning his own funeral. Urging the congregation not to dwell on his life’s achievements, including his receipt Nobel Peace Prize, King asked to be remembered as one who ‘‘tried to give his life serving others.”
‘‘Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter,’’ King said.
Excerpts of this speech were played at King’s nationally televised funeral service.
Sarah Polak, director of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center and member of the Diversity Committee, said printed copies of the speech will be handed out to marchers.
“This speech is not as well-known as the ' Have a Dream' speech, but just as powerful. Since it is not as well known, we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to fully understand what Dr. King was saying.”
For more information, contact Sarah Polak at 308-432-6401 or Laure Sinn at 308-432-6455.
—CSC Information Services