MLK Day events took place throughout West Michigan on Monday, with Albion and Western Michigan University hosting their own commemorative activities. The MLK Community Celebration & Resource Fair in Albion began its seventh year at Marshall Opportunity High School at 5:30 p.m.
Local organizations were recently showcased as approximately 300 attendees gathered for a complimentary dinner and program, which shed light on the impactful work taking place in Albion. Albion City Council Member Andrew French said the amount of attendees were down this year because of the weather.
“This year, given its proximity to zero, the current numbers are only about 50 percent of the usual figures,” French stated. Despite a decrease in attendance, French emphasized the significance of this event for the community.
“It is our duty as citizens to actively participate in community development,” French emphasized. “For those who are looking to expand their social circles and engage with the community, this place offers a wonderful opportunity to do so,” said a local resident. “I take full responsibility for that,” he said.
In a separate event, Western Michigan University held a celebration in honor of MLK at the Red Field House. Due to a burst pipe, the event had to be relocated from Miller Auditorium to the field house.
Several speakers were present at the event, one of whom was Dr. Ilyasah Shabazz. Dr. Shabazz is the daughter of Malcom X and is recognized for her achievements as an award-winning author, educator, and producer. In her discussion, she covered various current events, including the issue of police brutality, and highlighted the significant role that social media plays in shaping and amplifying social justice movements in the present day.
“According to Dr. Shabazz, social media has significantly enhanced visibility and the opportunity for connection,” reported a news source. “People can Google these accounts and see what’s going on in Kalamazoo and know that this place really does exist. Police brutality no longer becomes dismissed into so-called ‘isolated incidents’ because we see all of the images and videos that young people are recording.”
According to Dr. Shabazz, she has been deeply influenced by her father’s legacy, which emphasizes the importance of honesty and integrity. She believes that these values can help expose injustice and celebrate the achievements of individuals from all walks of life.