Annual silent march and memorial service still in full force

January 14, 2013

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

Rain was not a hindrance to the annual silent march hosted by the Dr. King Scholarship Committee Sunday.

A crowd of 65 people came out to support the silent march which started at Shawnee State University and ended at Christ Temple for the Memorial Service.

At the helm of the marchers were the four scholarship recipients of the Dr. King Scholarship, Pajah Williams, Dasia Kennedy, Desta Zerayesus Mays, and Jacob Haskins, who are all seniors at Portsmouth High School.

As is the custom, the scholarship recipients took their place at the front of the line holding the American flag.

Laura Walker, a 15-year member of the Dr. King Scholarship Committee, said Sunday’s turn out for the march in spite of the rain confirms the commitment of the people.

“I feel like it was a great success, especially since it was raining, and I think that the rain more or less proved the determination of the people to keep the dream alive, and let everyone know that the struggle is not over,” Walker said.

Amidst the umbrellas and raindrops, some of the marchers held signs bearing pictures and quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

More than 20 of the marchers were children, some with smiling faces and visible enthusiasm and excitement. Walker said that the youth are the target population.

“I think that it was great to have the children participate, I think that is the audience that we need to target. We need to make these children aware of the struggle that went on before them that has allowed them the lives that they currently live,” Walker said. “Martin Luther King’s legacy was a struggle, we have to keep that alive because still there are still so many problems that people of color, and disenfranchised people suffer. If you are poor, and if you are black, you are going to have problems, especially people from this area of Appalachia because of the stigma attached to them.”

Walker said Dr. King fought for equality, we have to keep the dream alive, and keep things equal,” Walker said.

She also said she was glad to see the diversity of the children participating in the march.

The march concluded at Christ Temple Church, where the crowd then gathered inside, with an additional crowd of more than 40 people who were already seated for the Memorial Service.

All four scholarship participants read their essays, which focused on how Dr. King’s life and legacy has impacted their lives, and their own personal dreams and goals for the future.

The keynote speaker for the event was Reverend Isaiah Haile, Pastor of Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, who expounded upon the Dr. King Committee’s theme, “Advancing the Dream the Work Isn’t Finished.”

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@civitasmedia.com.