By Garrison Murphy ’15
Almost 46 years after his assassination, the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life is still reverberating in not only the city of Phoenix, but in the Brophy community.
More than 100 students attended the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day walk on Monday, Jan 24 commemorating his life and achievements, according to an email sent out by Mr. Lane McShane ’82.
“It’s a great opportunity to not only support the civil rights of African Americans but the civil rights of all races and ethnicities,” said Andrew Contreras ’15 who attended the walk.
The walk began in front of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church on Jefferson Street and snaked its way through 3.08 miles of closed streets to eventually end at Margaret T. Hance Park.
“It’s great to see so many young people … and that’s particularly heartening because some people think of Dr. King and the Civil Rights movements as historical figures and historical events and the reality is … what it taught us is more relevant now than ever,” Mayor of Phoenix Greg Stanton said to the Roundup while participating in an interview. “We’ve come a long way but we’ve got a lot more to go.”
Mr. McShane, who was the Brophy sponsor for the event, said that the overall turnout including Brophy students was approximately 2,000.
He said that Brophy has been officially involved in the walk for four years, but students have unofficially attended for more than 30 years.
The walk is organized every year by the Arizona Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee and has been occurring since 1985 after Phoenix first recognized Martin Luther King Day as a holiday, according to the committee’s website.
Arizona didn’t officially recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday until 1992 even though Phoenix City Council voted it a paid day off for all city workers in 1984.
The committee puts on multiple events throughout the month of January to honor Dr. King’s life as well as promote cultural diversity, awareness and unity.