ANDERSON — Before Anderson University students and faculty marched to the Paramount Theatre on Monday, they met to reflect on the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic speech.
Stuart Erny, director of campus ministries, said Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a chance for him to reflect on King's message, which he said is a message that still resonates today.
"To those of us that claim to be followers of Christ, it's a message we can't ignore," Erny said. "Because it's part of the gospel ... we are all children of God."
He said he believes any sort of hierarchy where some have more value than others based on things like skin color is an affront to the Gospel.
Erny said his view on MLK Day has changed as he's gotten older. He said originally he thought King's message centered only around blacks and their struggle for equality. He said he didn't understand until a few years ago that King's work is a message for everyone.
Tim Quainoo, a theology student at AU, kicked things off by reciting King's entire "I Have a Dream" speech to a group of about 30 or 40 people.
Quainoo said afterward that the speech really affected him as he was practicing it over the week.
"It really is a tremendous speech," he said.
The group then spent time discussing what King's speech meant to them and what they should do moving forward.
The meeting, held in the School of Theology's Miller Chapel, kick-started a busy day for some AU students. Following the discussion, they marched from the campus to the downtown Paramount Theatre to take part in the citywide celebration of King.
Erny said students would be at seven different locations over the course of the afternoon, volunteering their time for activities like visiting residents at nursing homes and painting at Park Place Community Center. They followed that up with a film and a candlelight vigil outside the student center.
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.
In case you go: In addition to Monday's events, Anderson University will also host an Martin Luther King Jr. event today. When: 10 a.m. Chapel with James Earl Massey Where: Reardon Auditorium, 1100 E. Fifth St., Anderson