As Black History month comes to a close 2 events were held on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, the first March Like Martin. March Like Martin was a collaboration between the African American Cultural Center (AACC), the Eta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the NC State’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). After March Like Martin, the Celebration of Life event was put on by the AACC in collaboration with NPHC.
March Like Martin was originally supposed to occur during the Martin Luther King Commemoration however due to the weather it was moved to Feb. 25th.
Starting at 4 pm, the march took place from Stafford Commons to in front of the Witherspoon Student Center. Attendees were encouraged to make signs for the march. Some people also held the Pan-African flag and a Black Lives Matter flag.
The second section of the event featured speakers discussing topics surrounding Black people and social justice. The main speaker was Reverend Omar Paige Sr., who gave a speech on the dreams of Black people and Black students. A section of Reverend Omar Paige Sr.’s speech included a metaphor comparing achieving dreams to a college course as the majority of the audience were students. The speech had the same energy and structure as a sermon in a traditionally Black church.
The March Like Martin event was held in collaboration with the Celebration of Life Event. When March Like Martin concluded around 5 p.m there was a small 10-15 break and then the Celebration of Life event began.
The Celebration of Life event was a karaoke game night held on Harris Field which ended around 8 pm. The event acted as a way for the attendees to let off steam.
Before the games and karaoke, attendees were invited to eat in the African American American Culture Center to eat and converse with each other. The conversations ranged from simple introductions to what it is like being a Black student on campus. After eating and talking, attendees went back outside to play games.
Some of the games available were Spades, Cards Against Humanity, and Discretion. Karaoke was later in the night so those who weren’t playing games were socializing or just listening to the music playing.
Practically all of the game playing stopped when karaoke started. The karaoke became more of a sing-along amongst the audience because of the entertaining performances and well-known songs such as Love by Keisha Cole and Superbass by Nicki Minaj being played.
In between karaoke performances Black students had the opportunity to promote their organizations and events, some people also gave shout-outs to people who had been helpful within the community.
We Talked to Isaiah Lucas, the Program Coordinator of the African American Cultural Center, to get a better understanding of the process behind these events.
“We were in conversation with the Eta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. about how we can commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King… We really wanted to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King which is rooted in putting a stop to racial injustices with peaceful protest, demonstrations, boycotting, etc. so this march is to inspire the entire campus community that through marching, through protesting, and standing together in unity that we can change the world”
Lucas also spoke about the possibility of March Like Martin being a recurring event on the NC State Campus, “You know who knows what the future holds? I hope this will be something that the African American Cultural Center and the Eta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will continue because the African American Cultural Center and the NC State Alphas, neither one of them are going anywhere. I want this to be something that continues and continues to grow and prosper and incorporates many different facets of the community.”
We also spoke to Jerry Nichols, a program coordinator for TRIO’s pre-college program, who shared his feelings towards the event, “it means a whole lot. I am very proud of every NC State student as far as organizations rather be NPHC or other Black student orgs on campus. I feel like the steps that needed to happen, we definitely made that happen today and we will make that happen for years to come.”
The majority of the event’s attendees were students who Lucas expressed his gratitude for, “I’m very proud of all the NC State students who came out today. I think it’s a true testament of their dedication to bettering our community, to changing our world, to breaking silence, to really put us in a better position, and to really create a legacy of greatness here.”
March Like Martin was an event that was focused on the very serious topics of social injustice and protesting, so we asked Lucas about the collaboration between the Celebration of Life event which was more lighthearted.
Lucas spoke about why he was glad that both events came together, “I’m glad they came together because I think black folks, we have to stop working in silos and realize that we’re stronger together so any opportunity on this campus for us to collaborate I’m always looking forward to so I’m glad that NPHC and our wonderful intern Arana Blake were able to put their heads together to create a dope space for our students.”
The March Like Martin and Celebration of Life events created a space for students to appreciate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. while having fun and socializing with one another.