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Oakwood Citizens Join the MLK March

Oakwood residents joined Dayton’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial March

under the Oakwood Inclusion Coalition (OIC) banner. Participants marched along Third

Street from the Charles R. Drew Health Center, crossed the Third Street Bridge, and

continued to the campus of Sinclair Community College. This year’s dry and warmer

weather allowed residents to meet other marchers representing groups such as the

National Conference for Community & Justice, the NAACP, the Beavercreek high school

basketball team, the Dayton Area Korean Association, and The Dakota Center. All

participants embodied the spirit messaged on the signs the different groups carried, such as

the one displayed by members of the College Hill Church: A racial rainbow of peace.

This march was the first for OIC member Jane Dunwoodie. “I always wanted to

participate in MLK events, and now that I’m retired, I can,” said Dunwoodie. She

recalled the day of King’s assassination. She hid inside her bedroom closet and cried

for over an hour. “I couldn’t fathom why a man with such a good heart and pure

intentions could be killed because he preached that people shouldn’t be judged by the

color of their skin.” Dunwoodie got emotional just recounting her story.

Another longtime Oakwood resident, Bill Meeres, came to the march, as he does every

year, hoping to meet some new people. He explained that the march helps him make

connections and learn what new things are going on in the community. Meeres is also

motivated to get up early on a January winter’s day by his desire to share his

experience walking alongside King in Frankfort, Kentucky, back in 1964. He has stayed

committed to many of the principles King espoused during his lifetime and wants to

keep his legacy alive.

The general feel of the crowd was one of reaching out to people, learning why they had

come to be together, and showing respect for a man who made such a big difference in

our country’s history. As OIC Chair Madeline Iseli has frequently commented, “My family

found it inspiring to be among people who actively support the values King advanced to

be visible to the larger community.”


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