Mason March wraps up week of MLK Day equality events

Students set off on their march around Mason for equality (photo courtesy of Derek Smith).
Students set off on their march around Mason for equality (photo courtesy of Derek Smith).

On Feb. 2 at 11 a.m., students gathered in the Johnson Center Bistro for the annual Mason March for Equality.

The Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Multicultural Education and the African and African American Studies department included the event in their 2014 “Make the Dream Real” campaign commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. The campaign encouraged student acts of service and remembrance.

For the past three years, the Mason March has been specifically organized by G.E.N.T. Men, a student organization dedicated to the advancement of young African American men across the globe. Although the group’s mission focuses on the change, education and well-roundedness of its members, the marches are open to any student who wishes to participate.

“Mason is a very diverse school, but we have come to notice that everyone likes to hang out with their own circle,” said Devin Reid, the historian of G.E.N.T.. “So the purpose of the Mason March for Equality is to bring the campus together. We want to bring different ethnicities together.”

The March is a way for various cultures and backgrounds at Mason to bond in a peaceful atmosphere. Students walk around campus together while singing songs and socializing with one another.

“So we can say yes, we’re a very diverse school, and we do hang out with each other,” Reid said. “We are one. That’s the main purpose of the march.”

Reid also stressed that the Mason March helps students show thankfulness for the opportunities, both academic and social, provided at Mason. It also allows them to connect with past black equality movements.

Mason March is modeled after the 1995 Million Man March on Washington D.C., a demonstration birthed through the efforts of Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, and Benjamin Chavis Jr., the former executive director of the NAACP. The movement was designed to promote unity throughout the African American community. The Million Man March hadover one million participants.

“We kind of want to honor them [the Million Man marchers],” Reid said. “We know by doing this march, we have dedicated people that actually want to change and do things for the better.”


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