A dream of equality and peace was remembered Monday at Central Michigan University.
CMU’s Multicultural Academic Student Services office kicked off its annual Martin Luther King Jr. week festivities with a CommUnity Peace Brunch attended by nearly 600 members of the campus and community.
CMU President George E. Ross challenged the crowd to celebrate the legacy of the man who had a dream for equality and integration among all people.
“The dream has not been fulfilled yet,” said Ross. “As we celebrate Dr. King, I want you to study what he did. He started a movement, but we have a ways to go.”
MLK Oratorical Contest finalists presented their speeches at the brunch to commemorate King. The annual contest invites students to reflect on a historical message of King’s while relating it to a contemporary issue.
In reflecting upon the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, Shelbie Moore, CMU 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest winner, said, “If our laws are for the people, they need to be treated as such. “
“Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law,’” Moore said.
Isaiah Oliver, CMU alumnus and vice president of community impact at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, also addressed the crowd honoring the legacy of King and encouraged attendees to study the civil rights leader, celebrate his vision and act upon it.
“While MLK Day is readily celebrated at CMU, his dream has not been fully realized in our country,” Oliver said. “We have not fully accepted responsibility for fulfilling the dream. That power resides with you.”
In addition to the brunch, nearly 1,000 students and members of the Mount Pleasant community braved the cold temperatures to participate in a peace march that began on CMU’s campus and continued to downtown Mount Pleasant.
The crowd sang anthems of the civil rights movement during a vigil that followed the march.
Commemorative events continue this week and are open to the public.