By Mark Wilcox
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that has flourished into reality all over the nation, bringing together people of all walks of life to celebrate diversity rather than despise it.
?It?s amazing to see what we?ve come to as a society,? said Maybelline Smithee, student assistant of the BYU Black Student Union. ?Martin Luther King had a dream of the society we?re fortunate enough to have today. The clarity of his vision is astounding to me.?
Activities all over the Wasatch Front demonstrate just how this dream has matured. BYU is again sponsoring the ?Walk of Life? to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which will kick off Black History Month coming in February.
Also throughout the day, Utah Valley State College and BYU students are invited to participate in several community projects. The service projects will be in the Wilkinson Student Center and include knitting hats, putting together hygiene supplies, and making stationary paper for Utah non-profit organizations. The projects are open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The ?Walk of Life,? organized by BSU, has been an annual event for more than a decade. It starts at 5 p.m. at the Carrillon Bell Tower on Monday, Jan. 17. All in attendance of the free event will be given a candle for a reverent procession that will end at the Wilkinson Student Center, where the rest of the night?s activities will take place.
The BYU ROTC and the BSU presidency will lead the candlelight vigil, bringing a patriotic feel to the evening by hoisting an American flag that will be trailed by the hundreds of participants cradling candles.
The theme for the ?Walk of Life? is ?I am the Dream.? The focus will be to teach how individuals can fulfill King?s dream in their own communities, said Sam Brown, counselor for Multicultural Student Services, in a news release. He also said the program will help to educate the attendees about an important piece of American history.
The keynote speaker for this year is Don Harwell, president of the Genesis Group. The group was organized in the ?70s by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to promote brotherhood and continued activity among the black church members. BSU and Genesis Group choirs will also perform. A partial recitation of the famous ?I Have a Dream? speech will be given and followed by the video of King giving the speech.
UVSC?s celebration of King?s achievements occurred on Jan. 11 and 12, and consisted of lectures, classes and dance performances paying homage to diversity.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will host their luncheon on Jan. 17 at noon in the Little America Hotel at 500 South Main in Salt Lake City. The event costs $50 per person and will discuss the history of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Utah.
?[Martin Luther King Jr. Day] shouldn?t be a day off, it should be a day on?of service,? Smithee said, emphasizing the need to make King?s dream come to pass through helping others. ?We want people to know that.?