BYU remembers Martin Luther King Jr. Day with service, interfaith address

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BYU students and community members gathered at BYU throughout Martin Luther King Jr. Day for service and commemoration Jan. 19. 

Elliott Miller
BYU students decorate tote bags for Head Start, a volunteer based organization that supports pre-school aged children of low-income families, as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Elliott Miller)

Volunteers attended multiple service opportunities held on and off campus in the morning. These events were organized by representatives from BYU, UVU and United Way.

Activities included quilt-making, crafts for underprivileged children, blood donation and assisting home-bound senior citizens.

BYU’s Multicultural Student Services kicked off an annual Walk of Life event – a candle-lit walk from the Bell Tower to the Wilkinson Center that evening. “It has been a tradition here at BYU for years, and it is always a nice, reverent way to remember Martin Luther King and his passing,” said Mario Pereyra, Multicultural Student Services programs coordinator.

Students and community members then heard from selected guest speakers and enjoyed several musical numbers prepared by the Black Student Union’s Gospel Choir.

The first speaker, essay winner Craig Nicholas talked about about race and identity being part of who we are. He said to never forget to cling to hope. “Love and compassion is more powerful than water hoses, attack dogs and bullets,” Nicholas said. He concluded those who truly learn to love will overcome.

The keynote speaker for the night was Pastor Francis Davis from Calvary Baptist Church. He spoke about change and gave four things to help bring about change. He said to start with knowing who you are and then to prepare yourself as if everything depends on you. He said to wait till the ground swells and people are ready to act. Finally to learn how to visualize.

“As students, get involved,” Davis said. “Use social media as a means to bring about change. We are all in this boat together.”

BYU student Steve Saia reflected on the message delivered by Pastor Davis. “What stuck out to me was to prepare yourself as if everything depends on you,” Saia said.

In organizing this event, Multicultural Student Services kept in mind their goal to enhance cultural education and inclusion for all BYU students.

“It enhanced my experience at BYU by showing me not only that there are a multitude of different types of people here but that we also stand and support one another in these unique differences, making us special in our own way,” Saia said.

(All service photos by Elliot Miller)

(All Walk of Life photos by Maddi Dayton)

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