South Dakota’s first MLK Marade


Gracie Terrall, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Monday, South Dakota State University will host the inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Rally and Marade event to honor the life and legacy of the civil rights activist. The event begins at 11 am on Monday, Jan. 16 in the University Student Union.

A marade is a combination of a peaceful march and parade, which includes a public procession, rally and marching band. Marades are meant to honor and celebrate the life of King. Monday’s event will be the first of its kind both on SDSU’s campus and in the state of South Dakota. 

“This is a holiday that is celebrated as a ‘day on’ even though it is a day off to commemorate a great leader from the United States,” Jay Molock, the Black Student Alliance adviser said. “Everyone is not just invited, but encouraged to attend and in doing so we create an atmosphere of being inclusive and belonging.”

The event includes nearly 20 presentations and speakers, a 1.1 mile walk around campus followed by refreshments to honor King’s birthday. 

Presentations will include speeches from Students’ Association President, Blake Pulse, Brookings Mayor, Ope Niemeyer and Vice President of Student Affairs, Michaela Willis. There will also be two essayist finalists from middle and high school and performances by the Brookings High School jazz band and drumline and SDSU student singers.

During Monday night’s Students’ Association meeting, Molock addressed the Senate and encoraged them all to attend. 

“You guys are the campus leaders,” Molock said. “The question is what are you going to do about it? … We will be the talk of the entire state by the end of the visit … My goal is that South Dakota State [gets] national attention.”

The marade is sponsored by a number of student organizations including Black Student Alliance, Latin American Students Association, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, International Dance Crew, American Indian Student Center and Students’ Association. The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Accessibility, Brookings Human Rights Commission and Visit Brookings are also sponsoring the event. 

Molock said he hopes the event will show students the value of coming together and celebrating the first national holiday devoted to a black civil rights activist. 

“We would like to move from inaugural to annual so that this event will be something the university and community can celebrate every year at this time,” Molock said. “I am convinced that the audience will walk away different than when they came in based on the life and legacy of what Dr. King did.”