The GLI Club attends GVSU to commemerate MLK’s legacy

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    In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed Martin Luther King Day into law. Thirty-five years later on that same day, FHC’s GLI Club participated in activities at GVSU, shedding light on the fact that MLK is much more than just day off.

    “We are still in an age of divide, conquer, and oppress,” freshman and GLI member Rhoneda Arius said.

    The group went on this trip last year, so this year, GLI Club’s advisor, Vicki Felton, contacted GVSU again to ensure that high school students were welcome once again. Once GVSU confirmed that they were, the date was set.

    The day began with a speaker that encouraged students to reflect on how certain prejudices are enforced by society. Students also analyzed how they themselves have experienced judgment and how it impacts people around them.

    “Stereotypes are pressured on us from a very young age,” freshman Isabel Grable said. “Men are stronger than women. Women cook. Men are chiefs. Girls like boys and vice versa. White people are rich and smart.”

    In addition, the trip included a silent march across the GVSU campus for reflection. The trail was lined with signs, dates, and events, making the march like walking through a 3D timeline of one of the most influential lives in history.

    “What does it mean to march in honor of MLK, and what are we marching for now?” Felton said.

    The march ended at the location where the keynote speaker was doing her speech. The keynote speaker was April Reign who is started the hashtag on twitter “#oscarsowhite” and became an icon for activism.

    “She spoke of not just standing with someone but in front of them,” Felton said.

    Reign covered many concepts including being an accomplice instead of an ally. She was greatly appreciated by the crowd and was honored with a standing ovation. For Rhoneda, it was inspiring to see such an ordinary person make such a difference.

    “She symbolizes a voice that isn’t heard as often,” Rhoneda said.

    There were many that attended the event. To Rhoneda, it was incredible to see all these different people come together with one common goal in mind.

    “[The crowd] was well into the 2-300s, maybe even bigger,” Rhoneda said. “People are starting to listen and wanting to understand other groups of people. They want to see a change not just in society but in the world around us.”

    The event sparked a movement to make change in society, and it helps people clearly see how society is progressing.

    “We have come far in these past 60 years but not far enough,” Isabel said.

    This event is truly a sign that society will continue to progress towards absolute acceptance.

    “We are getting closer and closer to a society that truly does want equality for all,” Rhoneda said.