Stillwater Stresses Unity In MLK Day March

Monday, January 18th 2021, 7:05 pm
By: Brian Mueller

It’s a message that never gets old. 

“Unity, working together, and that’s what Dr. Martin Luther King stood for," said Calvin Miller, pastor at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Stillwater.

And that’s what the group walked for on Monday.

Stillwater Community United didn’t want to miss a step in their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march but knew they would have to make some adjustments. 

“It came to me like, with a relay race, why don’t we have a relay march to avoid having big gatherings," said Soha Elfeel, who helped Stillwater Community United plan the march.

The result was the community coming together like never before. Instead of a short walk to the community center, it spanned around the city, with smaller groups passing the banner at each stop. 

Among the marchers, Stillwater mayor Will Joyce and OSU men’s basketball coach Mike Boynton. 

“It’s super encouraging to see that even in the midst of a pandemic, we can throw on a mask, we can be outside, and still continue the march that the civil rights movement started for us," said Bryan Padgett, pastor at Redeemer Church in Stillwater.

“I think this year just has brought to the forefront that we need to acknowledge what Dr. King has accomplished and all the great things that he did," said Stillwater Chief of Police Jeff Watts.

For the first time, Stillwater Community United teamed up with Oklahoma State University. The march ended at the Spears School of Business where after a brief ceremony the OSU march started. 

It was a spirit of unity that local religious leaders hope is just another step in the right direction. 

“I hope that there will be a lot of listening, that white and Black will come together and say, ‘hey, I want to learn more,'" said Padgett. 

“We got to walk hand in hand together. On this very special day, that we set aside for Dr. Martin Luther King Day, we try to show that unity,” said Miller.