STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Tarleton State University will focus on renewing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream on the 57th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s iconic "I have a dream" speech.


On Aug. 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, King spoke for civil and economic rights and called for an end to social injustice and racism. In remembrance, the Tarleton community will participate Friday, Aug. 28, in unity walks and through a livestream of the March on Washington keynote address and entertainment.


"I am so grateful to be president of a university where our students care about making positive change and being part of a transformative period in our nation," said university President James Hurley. "Tarleton is home to so many students from so many different backgrounds, and it is vital that we never lose sight of how important social justice and equality are.


"Dr. King reminded us of that 57 years ago, and our outstanding students of 2020 remind us of it today. Our students are engaged in this unity walk and are leading our campuses to highlight the work that is yet to be completed by all of us."


The Tarleton event was organized by the Black Student Union, BOLD, MENtal Freedom, the Organization of Latinx-American Students and the Tarleton Activities Board, in collaboration with the Division of Student Affairs.


"Walking in unity will remind us that the March on Washington was not the end of racial injustices, socioeconomic disparities and oppression of the most salient/visible identities," said Tiburcio Lince, Director of Tarleton’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs.


"Eradication of injustice and disparities is a painfully gradual process, and it is why we need events like these to renew our commitment to pursuing the dream. I am so proud of our Tarleton student leaders who are vested in holding our community accountable and providing a space for others to renew their commitment to that dream of equality."


Participants may join in a symbolic unity march during the time of the D.C. march (2 p.m. Central) on the Stephenville campus. Viewing spaces for the evening’s messages, keynote address and music will be available at the Stephenville campus and at the Fort Worth Learning Center. Virtual watch parties will be available for Tarleton Midlothian, Waco, RELLIS-Bryan and Global students.


"This year’s March on Washington anniversary is more important than ever," said Tarleton student Jayden Owens, a member of the Black Student Union and executive member of MENtal Freedom. "It has us reflect further on how far we have come as a society, and even more on how far we still need to go. When we walk in unity, it is not just for publicity, but for a higher purpose: This is for the people who still see themselves as a part of MLK’s dream and for those who continue to make that dream a reality."


Dr. Kelli Styron, Vice President for Student Affairs, noted that Tarleton students were not able to travel to Washington, D.C., due to the quarantine on Texas residents, "but I believe our students are showing their determination and fortitude to bring awareness to an issue that is very real in 2020."


"Our students are the leaders of tomorrow, and they want to effect change today," she said. "We support their efforts and join with them in remembering Dr. King’s legacy and work."


Events will require face coverings and take place in various locations. Visit https://tarletonstate.us/MLK57 or contact the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs at 254-968-9488 or diversity@tarleton.edu.