GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids fraternities and sororities marched silently in downtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“We are together. This is my sister, I am her sister, those are our brothers and we just walk together with the same mission and vision in mind,” Mia Gutridge, the president of Grand Rapids’ alumni chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated, said.
Dozens of people marched from Heartside Park to Calder Plaza to honor the civil rights leader.
“He happens to be our fraternity brother, so we always hold his legacy,” said Jason McGhee, the president of Alpha Phi Alpha Incorporated Eta Nu Lambda chapter.
Taking steps forward to remember how far African Americans have come after the work of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the silent march had a deep meaning.
“When you are quiet and you’re still and you still your mind it allows you to have those thoughts to flow more freely, so as we do that in a silent way we want our community to know that, hey we are not saying no justice no peace, we’re not rallying for anything that’s progressive, but progressive in a different way in a way that’s of service, of honor and legacy,” McGhee said.
Several different local fraternities and sororities held a donation drive prior to the march.
“It’s our duty to make sure that those who are less fortunate know that we care,” Dwight Gutridge, a member of Omega Psi Phi, said. “This is a day of service anyway, it’s not a day off, it’s a day of service.”
“We know that a lot of our Grand Rapids families are facing housing insecurity. Unfortunately it’s not going away, the numbers are growing, so collectively we came together and donated I should say socks, hats and gloves,” said Kenisha Dorsey, the president of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority Theta Chi Omega chapter.
Together, the groups are serving the people of Grand Rapids in a way MLK preached about.
“Support, the idea of reflection and an idea of collaboration,” McGhee said. “When they see us and see us walking strong and are silent, how powerful is that? You’re not making noise, but your numbers speak for itself, your presence speaks for itself, so we want that to permeate Grand Rapids.”
“We want the world to see that if we can come together because we do have our differences, if we can come together they can come together as well,” Gutridge said.
“What’s our motto?” asks Dorsey.
“Stronger together,” she and Gutridge said together.
The Grand Rapids National Association of the Advancement of Colored People Youth Division and the Urban League also shared messages of unity at Calder Plaza in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his lasting impact on American culture.