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Stillwater community unites in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

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Photos of Martin Luther King Jr. are projected onto a screen during the MLK Day Community Celebration at the Stillwater Community Center on Jan. 21, 2019.

The day was harsh and bitterly cold, but sunset brought a warmth only known to the people gathered in the name of Martin Luther King Jr.

The crowd, consisting of a blend of Stillwater natives and international students, took off from the Stillwater Public Library on Monday in honor of a man characterized by freedom and truth.

“Martin Luther King Jr. was an initiator,” freshman Cory Robbins said. “He was a man of courage, and an incredible leader. I’m here because he is an incredible role model as to what a man should be.”

Martin Luther King Jr. had an impact across the country. His reach surpassed the boundaries of the nation and touched the entire globe. Most commonly known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, King fought for equality amongst all people.

“Martin Luther King Jr. is world famous," Bettina Hudson said. "I knew about him while growing up in Germany. I see him as a man of God, a visionary. He knew that people deserved freedom and equality, and he went about it the right way.”

The march, hosted by the Stillwater Public Library, was an opportunity for the citizens of Stillwater to come together and consolidate as one entity in honor of the celebrated holiday.

“I wanted to come here for a couple reasons," participant Anne Bowen said. "Number one, I wanted to be here for the community. Number two, I think it’s important to show support for what I believe in.”

Bowen gathered together her entire family in order to march together. She wasn’t the only one to bring their family; numerous groups of families were present at the event, but students from OSU flocked to support both the local library and King.

Addison Oliver, a master’s student, was one of them.

“Martin Luther King Jr. means hope and inspiration during any political climate and any time,” Oliver said. “If you are willing to fight for what you believe in, anything can change from there.”

The entryway of the Stillwater Public Library quickly became a central point of community. The march is hosted annually, and every year the crowd increases in size.

Freshman Will Ranson has been able to see this march grow in size.

“My dad invited me to the march," Ranson said. "I’ve come a couple times growing up, and it’s just a really great experience.”

By time the actual march began, the entryway of the library was bustling with people bursting with joy knowing that they were immersed in a community that fully and wholly celebrated the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. and his impact.