By Peter Tormey
SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga faculty, staff and students joined other human rights supporters Monday (Jan. 17) in the city’s annual Unity March on the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday to honor the memory and accomplishments of the transformative civil rights leader. The importance of the Spokane community’s show of unity could not be clearer given the apparent attempt of domestic terrorism at the event.
Before the event began, a backpack containing what has been identified as a potent shrapnel bomb was found along the march route. Officials re-routed the march and the FBI is investigating. Gonzaga thanks the vigilance of city employees and the prompt response of Spokane Police to keep its students, faculty and staff – as well as the entire community – safe.
After the march, Gonzagans volunteered to help with the University’s MLK Day of Service at the Northeast Community Center in Hillyard by cleaning the neighborhood. Gonzaga’s AmeriCorps and VISTA staff organized the clean-up.
By year-end, a street in this city will be named in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., following more than two decades of efforts to do so. The Spokane City Council last week OK’d a $3.7 million project to raze old warehouses to make way for the new street downtown and to build the first part of what will become Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
The anniversary was a perfect opportunity for Gonzaga to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. After all, it was Rev. King who said, “Life’s most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”
On the heels of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, several events are planned at Gonzaga to celebrate Black History Month in February. Among the highlights is a campuswide lecture and discussion by Gonzaga African-American history Instructor Kellie Carter Jackson on “Force: Understanding the Politics and Power of Violence in African-American History,” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 16 in the Jepson Center Wolff Auditorium. The event is free, open to the public, and sponsored by Gonzaga’s Unity Multicultural Education Center.
View the following slideshow of the events: