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Attendants of the MLK Silent March in 2017. (LIZ MOUGHON | PHOTO EDITOR)

Silent March brings attendees from Ohio University and Athens together for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The only song heard Monday morning on College Green was the sound of shoes against bricks.

Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. hosted a Silent March to honor Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday morning. The event started outside Galbreath Chapel and ended at Baker Center where everyone marched arm in arm in complete silence.

After a quick prayer, Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. led the march all the way to Baker Center where later there was a brunch for a Martin Luther King Jr. day celebration.

The line of marchers stretched from Galbreath Chapel to Alumni Gateway, displaying just how many people were in attendance.

Many of the participants brought homemade signs to the Silent March to do the talking for them. The majority of the signs had quotes from Martin Luther King Jr., including the quote “a riot is the language of the unheard."

The signs had phrases such as “white silence is white violence”, “all black lives matter” and “make racists afraid again."

People of all ages — from small children to the elderly — brought signs to the march. Several children wore signs that had pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. with quotes on them.

Along with homemade signs, there was a woman wearing an “all black lives matter” shirt.

“I think this is an important event,” Adrienne Erby, a lecturer and counseling program coordinator at Ohio University, said. “It’s a small, simple way to show community.”

There were many OU professors, students and Athens residents in attendance. OU President Roderick McDavis and his wife Deborah attended the march, as well.

Among the crowd was an elderly woman who decided to not use her wheelchair and marched alongside everyone else, with a man walking close by for assistance.

“I feel like when I come to diversity events that I am a part of something,” Brianna Johnson, an undecided first-year student, said of joining the march.

At the end of the march, Tyrin Rome, the vice president of Alpha Phi Alpha Inc., addressed the crowd.

“I would like to start by saying this is beautiful,” Rome said.

Rome, a senior studying music production, stood in the center of the fourth floor of Baker Center to address the crowd.

He continued to thank every person who came to the march to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and expressed how grateful Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. was that people came to march alongside them.

“We do the Silent March to show our respect,” Rome said.

Along with wanting to be a part of something, Johnson went to the Silent March because she wanted to see the people who would come.

“I came because I wanted to see the different faces,” Johnson said. “It’s about making sure that different voices are being heard and represented on campus.”


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