The upcoming presidential inauguration shadowed the feelings of some Trinity marchers
On Monday morning at least 240 Trinity students and faculty gathered for San Antonio’s 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. march. Thousands marched through the East Side in the nation’s largest walk honoring King’s legacy of peace and justice in light of perceived political turbulence.
The week’s upcoming presidential inauguration was clearly held in the thoughts and feelings of several Trinity participants.
“I think if we look at what’s happening Friday with the inauguration, a lot of people are still a little discouraged by the election results,” said Tahlar Rower, a junior and member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee. “A lot of people are still hurt and a lot of people realize that this election brought out a lot of racial tension, a lot of discrimination that people have known have been around for years but has really resurfaced.
Trinity marchers held a Trinity University banner, individual letter cards spelling Trinity and a collection of hand held Trinity signs. Some students held their own handmade signs with slogans that included “Black Lives Matter” and “John Lewis is a hero.”
“We begin the week with MLK and then end it with an inauguration that’s causing a lot of controversy,” said Kezia Nyarko, a first year and member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee. “We also had Trump talk about John Lewis, all talk no action. I think it’s incredibly relevant now to have this march because it actually shows people like Trump that a lot of people were not just “˜all talk no action.'”
Faculty members were also active in the march and cognizant of its place in history.
“This is more important because of our post-election challenges,” said Stacy Davidson, director of Academic Support and chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture. “For people to see that there are people out here for whom these kinds of things matter, and they’re not just black. They’re not just poor. It’s everyone who feels like they want to be a part of making a difference. I want to be a part of demonstrating that I care about others in my community that may not necessarily look like me. I think it’s particularly important a week out from the inauguration.”
Participants were asked to gather at the intramural field at 8:30 a.m. where T-shirts were distributed while waiting to board any of the four busses that would bring them to the starting point in the East Side of San Antonio. Each bus was equipped with TV monitors that showed segments of the famous 1965 march King led from Selma to Montgomery in the documentary film, “Eyes On the Prize.”
“You need things like that when you’re on your way to remind people why you’re out here,” Rowe said. “You’re not out here just to be out here. You’re out here because we’re commemorating and remembering what they did back then. It’s really a necessity to remind people why you’re out here so that you don’t lose sight of what’s really important.”
In celebration of King’s legacy, San Antonio has opted for a march as opposed to a commemorative parade, which is popular in other cities.
“I think a lot of time a parade gets in the way of a march because, if you think about back then, they literally marched,” Rowe said. “They marched with a mission. I really like that San Antonio keeps hold to the idea of a march. I don’t discredit a parade “” which is a celebration “” but I think a march is more-so synonymous with the actions of MLK.”
The sentiment was shared amongst members of San Antonio’s East Side community.
“It’s a great man that we’re celebrating,” said Jerome Harris, a veteran representing the East Side with other members of the American Legion Post 828. “I come out year after year just to keep the dream alive. To make sure that we’re not just marching in vain but we’re marching for a purpose.”
The starting point was at the M. L. King Academy, where banners of Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama had been draped down from the building’s roofs. The marchers then began down Martin Luther King Dr. and through several parts of the city’s East Side.
“It really bothers me, still, to walk through that east side community and see the conditions under which people are still living,” Davidson said. “That’s wrong. We’re supposed to be the richest country in the world and we still have people living in conditions that don’t allow them to reach their full potential, which was another thing that MLK said.”
Groups outside of the East Side community felt warmly received and appreciated for their participation in the march.
“The more the merrier,” Harris said. “I think everyone should be a part of this.”
Despite gray clouds and light drizzle the spirit of the marchers seemed high and proud.
“I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Davidson said. “I didn’t care if it was gonna rain, pour or sleet. I didn’t care. I was going to be here because he died to allow us to congregate and convene across all of our different lived experiences. What a better way to honor him.”