By Jessie Bazan, communication junior
Photo by Aaron Ledesma, communication junior
Last week, the Marquette community participated in a series of events celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Office of Student Development's Center for Intercultural Engagement organized the MLK Days of Engagement that included a Mass, lunch with Professor Emeritus and civil rights author Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Rozga, a reception with American poet A. Van Jordan, and a day of unity. Communication junior Jessie Bazan shares with Marquette Magazine how participating in the unity day events was an experience she will never forget.
There is something refreshingly simplistic about breaking bread with others. To honor the life and ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we didn’t march or protest. We didn’t preach to the masses. Instead, the Center for Intercultural Engagement invited students to a unity dinner, and then to take part in a candlelight vigil outside the Alumni Memorial Union. The act of just being present with one another was a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to bringing people together. Huddled close atop a batch of freshly fallen snow, we took turns reciting some of King’s most famous lines. It was one of those chilling winter nights where the whipping winds seemed to grab hold of our words — his words — and carry them far away. Even Mother Nature works to unite the world.
In honoring King, I’m reminded how connected we all are, really. Nights like this, I can’t help but chuckle at the artificial categories society tries to box us into. Race, ethnicity, age, gender, social class, sexual orientation — so often, these classifications divide us. But why? Fundamentally, we are all equal. As members of the human race, we are inextricably bound with one another by our very natures. Why, then, should the color of my skin, the wrinkles donning my face or the monetary value of my bank account be used to define me? To define you? To define us?
King had a dream that one day we would be judged instead by the content of our characters. He imagined us transformed as a people into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. In the amazing web of human life, we would both be united and feel united. We all have dreams — some big, some small, some realistic, others that may take a while to manifest. King had many dreams, and his dreams changed a nation. His dreams offered a platform for future generations of dreamers. Thank you, Dr. King, for inspiring me and countless others to dream big.