Today's Paper Latest Elections Sports Core Values Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive Story ideas iPad
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

King legacy honored with in person, online events in Northwest Arkansas

by Mike Jones, Stacy Ryburn | January 18, 2022 at 7:28 a.m.
Attendees march, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. .(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

SPRINGDALE -- Local efforts to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took to the online and physical streets Monday.

Alice Gachuzo, organizer of Springdale's fifth MLK Day celebration, said she didn't know what to expect.

Last year's event was streamed online. This year there still was covid to deal with, and the weather was a concern as small patches of snow still covered the ground Monday morning.

But a diverse crowd did show up, and a parade with more than 150 people started at Luther George Park and walked down Emma Avenue to The Jones Center, where a unity celebration including music, speakers and to-go boxes of food was held.

"The first year I didn't know if anyone would show up," Gachuzo said. "The third year we had 300 people."

Stephanie Takamaru of Fayetteville, with the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, said the parade showed unity.

"It's good to see all backgrounds here," she said.

After the parade, the crowd grew as events started in the Harvey and Bernice Jones Chapel at the center. Mayor Doug Sprouse, who took part in the parade of walkers, read a proclamation recognizing the day.

Jeron Marshall of Fayetteville sang the Black anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing." It was her first time to sing it at a public event, she said.

"It was special, encouraging," she said. "I felt honored."

NaTosha DeVon of Fayetteville portrayed Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King. She read a monologue she created that was about Scott King's life and King's assassination.

She said she wanted to recognize women of the movement such as Scott King and Myrlie Evers-Williams, a civil rights activist and journalist, for their sacrifices while also honoring King.

Deja Murray of Springdale didn't take part in the parade but was at The Jones Center.

"Martin Luther King was an inspiration," she said. "He's still very relevant in our lives and the world. He wanted us to do things the right way. He wanted us to fight with love because there is too much hate."

The way to achieve King's dream is through action and equity, panelists heard during the Northwest Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Council's event held online Monday.

About 60 people took part in the "virtual march." Normally, hundreds gather during the holiday at Lot 56 of the University of Arkansas campus near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Razorback Road in Fayetteville and march to the Union Ballroom on campus. The event has been held online the past two years as a safety precaution during the covid-19 pandemic.

Monday's speakers were attorney Cephus Richard III; Laura Jacobs, chief of staff to University of Arkansas Interim Chancellor Charles Robinson; John English, vice chancellor for research and innovation at the University of Arkansas; Yvette Murphy-Erby, vice chancellor for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the university; and Lindsey Leverett-Higgins, president of the MLK Council. The Rev. Curtiss P. Smith, senior pastor at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville, spoke through a recorded message.

King refused to let prison, violence or death threats sway his determination, Leverett-Higgins said. He stood beside his goal of achieving equal rights through nonviolent protest, even when the opposition had the power of legislation, beatings and killings in its arsenal, she said.

The push for civil rights remains a preeminent challenge today, Leverett-Higgins said.

"Dr. King's generation did their part. Now it's time for us to do ours," she said. "The next generation needs us."

King's dream went deeper than equality, Murphy-Erby said. His was a dream of equity, meaning everyone in the world would have equal opportunity for success, with race not serving as the determining factor for advancement in any aspect of life, she said.

Transcending that dream into a reality requires collective, intentional acts, Murphy-Erby said.

"Leadership doesn't lie in your title or your position. Leadership lies in how you present to the world, how you show up," she said. "Seek opportunities to foster collective impact. Why? Because together we all accomplish more."

  photo  Allen "Alnicx" Harrison performs, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and Unity Celebration that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse (from left) accepts an award of recognition from organizer Alice Gachuzo, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and Unity Celebration that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Superintendent of Springdale schools Dr. Jared Cleveland (from left) accepts an award of recognition from organizer Alice Gachuzo, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and Unity Celebration that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  NaTosha DeVon tears up as she portrays the late Coretta Scott King, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and Unity Celebration that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  NaTosha DeVon sings as she portrays the late Coretta Scott King, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and Unity Celebration that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Jamya Gachuzo, 12, (from left) sings with her sister Jezakia Gachuzo, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and Unity Celebration that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Organizer Alice Gachuzo reacts after Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse gave a proclamation declaring January 17th as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and Unity Celebration that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse gives a proclamation declaring January 17th as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and Unity Celebration that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Bystanders watch attendees march, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Attendees march, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Attendees march, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Amelia Villasenor holds up Luna Delazene Villasenor, 2, as they march, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Attendees march, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Allen "Alnicx" Harrison (right) shares words of encouragement to Ka'lijah Murray, 4, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and Unity Celebration that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Attendees march, Monday, January 17, 2022 during the 5th annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade that started at Luther George Grove Street Park and ended at the Jones Center in Springdale. Organizers capped the parade with a Unity Celebration featuring musical performances, a presentation of awards and lunch for the community. Check out nwaonline.com/220118Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 


MLK Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday in January.

Signed into law in January 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, the national holiday is a celebration of King’s immeasurable contribution to the United States and to humankind, according to the King Center.

King was shot and killed while standing on a balcony outside his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

Source: Staff report


ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT