(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / January 6, 2021) – Stillwater Community United is planning a relay march through town on Monday, Jan 18, in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to show support for racial unity within the community. Due to public health concerns, the celebration will not be in a large, indoor gathering, as it has been in past years.
The march starts at Southern Woods Park at 12:30 p.m. A small group will march with a celebratory banner to the next location on the route, the Stillwater Public Library. The first group will hand off the banner to a new group at the Library, who will walk to the next location before passing the banner on. The march will progress in the same manner through downtown, up Duck St. and finally to the OSU campus. The banner should arrive at OSU at approximately 2 p.m., where marchers will hand off the banner to representatives of the OSU student body outside the Spears School of Business on Hester Street.
Having small groups each completing a short portion of the march will allow for safe distancing between participants. The relay aspect of the march has a larger symbolic meaning as well, though.
"I visualize this march as a movement of diverse groups towards each other, to reach out, and support each other in a show of solidarity," said Soha Elfeel, a member of Stillwater Community United and the original planner for the march. "It is a symbol of collaboration where we all play a small role to complete a larger action."
Stillwater Police Chief Jeff Watts agreed.
"With numerous groups being involved in the march, we are expressing our commitment to being a united city. We are demonstrating that we recognize and appreciate the importance of Dr. King's work and that we are committed to making his dream and our dreams unite."
According to Watts, who is also a member of Stillwater Community United, the Stillwater Police Department wants to help fulfill Dr. King's legacy on MLK Day and beyond.
"Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity for us to show that we are committed to strengthening our relationships with our minority community members," Watts said. Racial equality is much like our constitutional rights. We have to think about them, not just every day, but throughout each day."
Event organizers invite community members to watch the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march on Jan. 18 to show their support. The two-mile route has enough space for individuals and families to attend while maintaining safe social distances.
The Stillwater Police Department will provide commemorative face masks to be distributed to individuals along the route, while supplies last. Attendees must already be wearing a face covering to receive one of the commemorative masks.
The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.