Arkansas State students participating in the MLK Day Parade
Hundreds gathered on the Arkansas State Campus for the first MLK Day parade since the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade was followed by the 21st annual Northeast Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the Fowler Center.
Ray Prunty was the parade’s grand marshal. Dr. Lonnie Williams, vice chancellor of the division of diversity, inclusion and community engagement said: “Ray Prunty has been selected as this year’s grand marshal recognizing his service to the committee these past 21 years.”
The celebration included guest speaker Dr. Donald Arnette, performances by NEA MLK dancers and singers, greetings from Mayor Harold Copenhaver and University Chancellor Dr. Todd Shields and more.
“I’m deeply welcoming you to our annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. I’m grateful to take part in the recommitment and the events held throughout this week. We have the opportunity and we have the responsibility to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, one of the most influential civil rights leaders in American history,” Shields said.
Guest Speaker Arnette received a Ph.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. There he was the first African American male to receive a Ph.D. from the department of cellular molecular biology.
“In all seriousness, it is a very big pleasure and honor to be here. I’ve been to Jonesboro. This is my third or fourth visit, and every time it gets better and better. The people here are unbelievable,” Arnette said.
Arnette is a motivational speaker and an author of the book “I am Supposed to be Here.”
“I encourage everyone in this room to actually take a minute to look around and understand what our fellow student, worker, friend, colleague, what they’re all about, what drives them, what’s important to them. Why is it important to them? When we take a minute to step back and understand why this is important to them?” Arnette said.
Rev. Kevin Clark of St. Paul A.M.E. Church Master of Ceremony, Rev. Zay Clark of New. St. John M.B. Church, Rev. Dr. Shannon Lewis of New beginnings M.B.C. and Rev De’Andra Warren of New Mt. Zion M.B. Church all spoke at the celebration.
The theme of the week of activities planned was “Together: We can be the dream.”
The parade began at the Lt. Col. Frederick Turner Military Science building, traveled along Marion Berry Parkway and Johnson Ave. and concluded at the Fowler Center.
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