Dr. King’s words of justice echo across campus

January 17, 2020 / by / 1 Comment


GCU Multicultural Manager Donald Glenn speaks to a group about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday.

By Mike Kilen
Photos by Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

We shouldn’t be silent but should use our voices.

That was Donald Glenn‘s reason for playing the words of Martin Luther King Jr. from a speaker on the Promenade on Friday in honor of  the day dedicated nationally to the civil rights leader, coming up Monday.

The words that played were King’s impassioned response to church leaders who denounced his protests of treatment of blacks in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. He wrote 7,000 words from jail in the margins of a newspaper.

The letter defends the practice of nonviolent resistance to racism. In it, he wrote that people have a moral responsibility to be nonviolent gadflies and create a social tension that will wake people up to prejudice and racism — not sit idly by because injustice may be happening to others.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he wrote.

Students take in the message of Martin Luther King Jr.

Glenn, GCU’s Multicultural Manager, told a group of assembled students before playing King’s word over a loudspeaker that the letter eventually was published across the country and led President John Kennedy’s drive to introduce civil rights legislation.

“Dr. King’s work is so significant that it is why we can sit all together today,” Glenn said. “It was Birmingham that got him attention. And why we are playing his words on the Promenade.”

Freshman student Marina Tong listened as the words played, remembering how her African refugee parents brought her to America and she learned of Dr. King.

“For me, it means looking at my identity and having the ability to tell others about it,” she said.

The silence, on this Friday midday at least, was broken.

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.

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One Response
  1. Phillip Bynum

    I’m 54 years old and one of my first memories was the day Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in April of ’68 (April 4th of that year to be exact). I remember all around me, in the African-American neighborhood I grew up in, people crying and screaming about the man of peace being killed by men of hate. That memory (and many say I was actually too young) stays in my mind. But I do remember. As I grew to understand more about what it was all about, I realized that the movement MLK embraced (for there were a plethora of leaders history leaves out) was not just that of freedom, but of human evolution. The psyche of the human race witnessed what I deem as a “Socio-Cultural Revolution” man had never throughout history seen before. King’s speeches exemplified the very essence of that revolution and the non-violent actions that he helped organize were vital to its success. Now I am not so naïve to say that we don’t still have a ways to go for equality. Some people choose hate and exclusion as a way to feel some sort of importance (to me it’s against what the Gospels portray as what we should aspire to). Martin Luther King (and his father) were named after the socially conscious German Priest that challenged the teachings of the Catholic faith. In his ilk, Martin Luther King Jr. did much of the same to that of how people see each other historically. It was not a movement of just equality for minorities, but that of evolution aimed at obtaining equality among all mankind. So I join you all in celebrating the memory, legacy and continued trek of evolution Martin Luther King led us on.

    Jan.17.2020 at 1:46 pm
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