The Benedictine College Black Student Union is teaming up with Atchison United and the Ministerial Alliance to host a Martin Luther King Jr. Day March and Celebration.

The march and celebration highlight the second year the club has hosted the event as it looks to become an annual occurrence.

The march will begin at 5:30 from Atchison City Hall and process to Benedictine College. Following the march, a celebration of the civil rights activist’s life and legacy will be held in the O’Malley-Mcallister Auditorium at 6 p.m.

Black Student Union President Soloman Wallace conveyed the importance of the holiday.

“Dr. King inspired me in a variety of ways, his humility, his leadership, his heart to serve, his faith in God. Things I work on daily as a Christian man,” Wallace said.

Wallace will be giving a speech on the quote from Martin Luther King Jr., “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Tyler Shepard, Director of the college’s Freedom Fellows Program, noted the local partners that will help present this event this year.

“The plan is to make this event annual and continue partnering with organizations in town. This year we are working with the Ministerial Alliance and Atchison United,” Shepard said.

Atchison United—a local non-profit organization—promotes the event within the Atchison community.

Sean Crittendon of Atchison United elaborated on the community involvement that the organization and the Campus’ Black Student Union have worked together to develop.

“The march is heavily attended, it’s a great event that brings the community together,” Crittendon said.

Reverend Vernon Winfrey from Campbell Chapter AME Church will keynote the night with a talk titled “Being a Risk Taker.”

Benedictine Students Leila Almanza, Amber Mascarenas, Obediah Lewis, Giovanni Burk, Zyon Mathis, Elizabeth Morris, Martina Lorang, and Aaron Parks will also present short talks.

A community choir was scheduled for the event but has since been canceled due to complications regarding COVID-19.

Tyler Shepard explained the importance of this event in relation to the present and the future.

“Celebrating events like this show us how far we’ve come, but more importantly, it shows us how far we have to go. We hope that it allows students to reflect on how they live their lives, how they face injustice, and how they reply when met with indecency,” Shepard said.