Community unites for ninth annual MLK March

Myrinda+Wolitarsky%2C+left%2C+and+a+fellow+marcher+hold+their+signs+up+high+while+walking+up+Walnut+Mall.
Myrinda Wolitarsky, left, and a fellow marcher hold their signs up high while walking up Walnut Mall.

Myrinda Wolitarsky, left, and a fellow marcher hold their signs up high while walking up Walnut Mall.

Myrinda Wolitarsky, left, and a fellow marcher hold their signs up high while walking up Walnut Mall.

Nicholas Tucker, Staff Reporter

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Unfavorable weather and fresh snow didn’t stop protesters from gathering in the SURC Pit on Jan. 11 to attend the ninth annual MLK Peace March. At 3:30 p.m., roughly 30 students and community members collected around Director of Student Involvement, Andre Dickerson.

“We won’t let the weather deter us,” Dickerson said.

The protesters left the SURC Pit and began moving south on Chestnut Mall. At the front was Dickerson with a megaphone, leading chants.

“Rights for all,” shouted marchers as they stormed through slush on the concrete.

Rosemary Harrell holds a sign in each hand during the march.

At Dickerson’s side was Champagne Ryder, a freshman ITAM major. This sort of activism runs in Ryder’s family as his father was an ex-black panther, Ryder said. He still believes that there is progress to be made with civil equity.

“We still have work that we need to do. We’ve definitely come a long way, especially from [King’s] time when he was marching and fighting, but we still need to continue his legacy in a non-hateful and nonviolent way,” Ryder said.

Dickerson handed Ryder the megaphone and allowed Ryder’s voice to be heard at the march.

“The people united will never be divided,” the attendees chanted in unison.  

The crowd was diverse in not only race, but in age as well. Chris Bailee, a 66-year-old member of the Ellensburg First Methodist Church, held a sign that read “fighting for the dream.”

“I believe in all of my heart in equality and that all people-all humanity-is one family. To see the injustice, the inequality that continues is so painful,” Bailee said. “We look at the criminal system and how people of color are villainized. We need to stand up and speak for the rights of everyone.”

The march crossed the Barge courtyard, reached University Way and stopped in front of Barge Hall. Here Dickerson addressed the crowd, which now stood in a circle. He called for a moment of silence in the name of those who fought against oppression and those who are still oppressed today.

Ruby Nambo, left, participates in the peace march.

The camera shutters stopped and the noise of footsteps came to a halt. The only noise was that of cars honking at a distance.

Dickerson broke the silence, allowing the march to continue moving. The faces inside the passing cars smiled and the crowd cheered in response. Moving north, the marchers entered the SURC cafeteria where a majority of the observing students smiled.

The march reached the SURC second floor and Dickerson shook each marcher’s hand, thanking them for their voice and welcoming them to the awaiting food and MLK Day celebration in the theater.

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Community unites for ninth annual MLK March