Shippensburg University march honors Dr. King, civil rights struggle
By AMBER SOUTH
SHIPPENSBURG — A hundred or more students pushed through blustery weather as they walked up Cumberland Avenue in Shippensburg University’s March for Humanity Thursday.
Some marchers hoisted signs in the air that marked the various student organizations represented in the group and chanted as they left the Anthony F. Ceddia Union Building after a presentation honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and his achievements for civil rights.
The two-part, 25th annual event was part of the university’s 17th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration sponsored by the Office for Multicultural Student Affairs and the African American Organization.
In her opening remarks, Barbara Lyman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said people are responsible for marching in honor of King today because the fight for equal rights still continues. She said King would applaud the students for their presence and participation.
“Dr. King planned one march in which he did not live long enough to participate,” she said.
Thursday’s March for Humanity came almost 45 years after King died from being shot while standing on the balcony of his room in a Memphis hotel, noted Marvin Worthy, keynote speaker. The president and CEO of Worthy Consulting and Training, Worthy is a motivational speaker.
“I continue to fight so that the dream can be reality in all parts of the nation,” Worthy said. People should push for justice for all, not just themselves, he said.
Worthy told everyone to imagine that God gave King the power to look out over a mountaintop and view the world. As King watched from above, he saw evidence that his journey had positive results on the future.
He sees incredible, motivational programs for activities for young people, Worthy said. Minorities are leaders in community and government, and people share ideas and knowledge to benefit their communities.
King peers into 2009 and sees Barack Obama taking office as the first black president.
“He recognized that the dream manifested in the election of the first black president,” Worthy said.
Worthy described how the vision changed to show King the negative cracks in society — hardship, unemployment, recession, poverty, a broken judicial system and other issues that have seeped through recent years.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; “today we try to link those words to the reality of our time,” Worthy said.
“It is up to you to make the world a fair place for all people,” he told the diverse group of students sitting in front of him.
After powerfully speaking excerpts from King’s “I Have a Dream,” speech, Worthy challenged those before him to act on King’s words.
“You can be an active participant in the game of life or you can be a spectator. When you participate you grow, you learn,” he said.
Representatives from various student groups participated in March for Humanity. Performances also took place, including a dance by SU Heritage Dance Company and singing by Harmonic Voices of Truth choir.
A number of Humanitarian Awards were given to teachers and school officials who push for student success and promote equality amid diversity. Recipients included mentors from Carlisle and Harrisburg school districts, as well as four SU faculty members: Stephanie Erdice, director of the Women’s Center; Toru Sato, associate professor of psychology; John Bloom, associate professor of history/philosophy; and the Rev. Diane Jefferson, director of multicultural student affairs.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 262-4771.