Black Student Alliance hosts first March on Parks


Blake Lanser

Student members of the Black Student Alliance marched from the Multicultural Center to the front lawn of Parks Library while carrying signs on Jan. 28, at noon. In attendance was Dr. Thomas Hill, senior vice president for student affairs. The event, coordinated by Teonna Flipping, a senior in speech communication, attracted passing students around campus.

Elaine Godfrey

Today, students from Iowa State’s Black Student Alliance will be participating in the first-ever March on Parks to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Black Student Alliance is focused on bringing together members of the multicultural community, said President KeeAnn Nelson, senior in criminal justice and sociology. She said the symbolic march will be a necessary and inspirational reminder of the past for all students.

“We are doing it because we want to pay a tribute to Dr. King,” Nelson said. “We want to remember where we’ve come from, as far as the struggles we’ve had being an ethnic minority here in America. It’s often said that you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve come from.”

The march will begin at 12 p.m. at the Memorial Union Multicultural Center and will finish at the free-speech zone in front of Parks Library. The march is designed to recreate the civil rights marches that occurred in the 1960s, Nelson said, and will include traditional hymns and spirituals.

“It will be like a living history book,” Nelson said. “This is something that is not just textbook material, but it’s actually something we can do that can kind of recreate that history for us.”

To wrap up the March on Parks, Tom Hill, senior vice president for student affairs, will give his remarks on the progress of civil rights in America and the progress we have yet to make.

“I’m just honored to be a part of the event,” Hill said. “Dr. King is one of the individuals I really admire, and I just think it’s a fitting tribute to someone who gave their life for the benefit of others.”

Hill said it’s critical to remember the issues represented in the civil rights movement because even though they may not look the same now as they did in 1960, the struggle is still there. People simply need to be made aware of it.

“That’s the significance of a march like this,” Hill said. “It’s important for awareness but also so that people can commit themselves to doing something about it.”

The Black Student Alliance hopes the March on Parks will bring together students and community members of every race and ethnicity in an effort to truly represent the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“It’ll be warm,” Hill said. “Even if the temperature outside is cold, it’ll be warm.”