King’s birthday commemorated

By Brenden Walz

Despite cold weather and brisk winds, more than 350 students marched through the NIU campus to commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The group took part in a march that circled the residence halls, went down Lucinda Drive and into the King Memorial Commons. The march is the first to be sponsored by the NIU chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

With the sun setting slowly in the sky, participants joined hands and walked past bystanders who joined in along the route.

Omega Psi Phi fraternity member Greg Morris said the progress of African-Americans today resulted in large part from King’s efforts.

“If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have the progress we have today,” Morris said. “Blacks and whites wouldn’t be sharing the same buses today.”

After a brief ceremony in the commons, the participants packed into the Holmes Student Center’s Diversions lounge, where they listened to several speakers, including Black Greek Council President Alfred Tatum and Assistant Housing Director Willard Draper.

Tatum noted the progress at NIU through a more racially diverse student body and faculty, a more representative student government, the establishment of the CHANCE program and the building of the statue in the commons to commemorate King.

Tatum said people need to try to look at what the statue symbolizes and not just at its outward appearance.

“It is not how the statue looks, but how we look at it,” Tatum said.

Draper emphasized how much difference an individual can make if that person has a dream.

“You all can make a difference if you have a dream,” he said. “A man or woman without a dream is like a ship without a rudder, drifting everywhere.

“But a dream that is backed up with consistent, serious effort can affect the lives of our grandchildren and all the other people born this century.”