For the first time, students, faculty, and staff participated in Dallas’ annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration March/Parade on Monday, January 20.
Students and employees of Criswell marched together along Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, holding a banner that read “Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
SGA President James Mayville, who assisted in the filing of paperwork for the college to participate in the parade and attended the safety and logistics meetings, said Criswell’s participation was a great opportunity to show the city of Dallas that the college is actively engaged and present in the community.
“It was an all-day event,” Mayville said. “It was a learning experience for us in terms of the logistics. We had about sixteen students come out and two or three staff members and a faculty member that joined us. We had a really good group out.
“We’re really proud of the energy we had, the commitment from students, and a big deal for student government is community engagement and students engaging our community,” he said. “We had not only housing students, but students from different parts of the Metroplex who drove down early Monday morning to engage the community and honor the life of Dr. King.”
Director of Student Services Luis Juárez said that the opportunity to participate in the citywide event opened the opportunity for Criswell to unite with the community.
“At a time in history where we are witnessing much division in our country, students, faculty and staff from Criswell College joined thousands of people from Dallas and walked in the MLK Parade singing a song of unity and love for all people. Honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. begins with being faithful to our identity in Christ and our calling as believers. We are called to live in justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before our God,” Juarez said.
SGA representative and Criswell student Naomi Karanja said that the Dallas MLK parade was the first one she ever participated in. Though she wasn’t sure what to expect during the parade, she said what she saw and the positive responses the group received was beyond her expectations.
“It was so much more than I expected, walking down the street with fellow classmates, peers waving at so many wonderful people, making conversation, and remembering why we were all here. So many walks of life converged on that street, all to honor and celebrate the life of a man who fought for justice, forged a path for peace, and preached love,” she said.
“So much of us being there was owed to Dr. King, whose efforts made it possible for many of us to get to where we are in our education, careers, and day-to-day lives.”
With more than 200 entries, the parade was larger than expected this year. Although the Criswell group had to wait over four hours before they had a chance to start marching, students, faculty, and staff used that time to bond and reflect on Dr. King’s legacy.
“The significance of such an honor was not lost on us,” Karanja said. “I believe there must have been a moment where each of us paused in awe and gratitude for the opportunity to participate in such an event.”