United as one

Published 10:40 am Thursday, January 31, 2019

Asbury students attend

MLK Unity Breakfast, March

From staff reports

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Snow, ice and chilly winter weather didn’t deter a group of Asbury University students from joining the crowd of thousands who marched in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. last week.

“From this experience, I realized how often we take for granted holidays like MLK Day — merely seeing it as a three-day weekend or another day to sleep in,” Black Student Alliance President Breana Staten said. “However, by going to the MLK Unity Breakfast and March, I was able to take time to acknowledge the impact Martin Luther King Jr. had and how those in our surrounding community are choosing to continue his legacy.”

The Unity Breakfast and subsequent march in Lexington have become a tradition for students from Asbury’s intercultural student groups, who attend the event each year with Asbury President Dr. Sandra C. Gray, Assistant Vice President for Intercultural Affairs the Rev. Esther Jadhav, Intercultural Affairs Coordinator Dr. Maria Brown and other staff and faculty from the university.

“These experiences are important because they help us reach beyond the Asbury community and see opportunities for service in our larger community, as well as hear from community leaders that aren’t necessarily connected to Asbury but are doing good reconciliation work,” Brown said. “It also helps students get a vision for how they can connect to their communities when they leave Asbury.”

Paying homage to King’s iconic marches, such as the march on Washington, Asbury students marched alongside community leaders and locals in remembrance of King’s message of sharing peace, justice and Christ-like love.

Students from Asbury’s Beta Sigma Alpha, Black Student Alliance, Lambda Sigma Alpha Latino Student Alliance and Iota Sigma Alpha International Student Alliance, were present at the 25th Annual Unity Breakfast and March.

Staten was encouraged by the diversity of speakers who ranged from pastors to middle school students. Though, she felt especially inspired during the march.

“During the march, it was moving to see all the handmade signs and posters recognizing the influence that Martin Luther King Jr. had, but at the same time recognizing the racial justice work that still needs to be done,” Staten said.

Demarion Johnson said he was glad to attend the event for the second year in a row, citing how important and enriching these experiences are for college students.

“Experiences like this one are important for Asbury students to have because we are Christians,” Johnson said. “As Christians, I believe we need to feel the joys and heartbreaks tour brothers and sisters feel if we are claiming a life found in Jesus.”

He was also enthralled with the deep exploration into the meaning of unity at the breakfast. 

“A highlight that stood out to me was the thought of not being able to have community without unity,” Johnson said. “It reminded me that we have to be unified together to accomplish our goals and reach our dreams.