Despite the frigid temperature, blustery winds, and icy streets, approximately 70 Oakwood residents joined Dayton’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial March under the Oakwood Inclusion Coalition (OIC) banner. Participants marched along Third Street, crossed the new Third Street Bridge, and continued to the campus of Sinclair Community College, where community leaders and local activists led a short program. “We wanted to honor King’s legacy," explained OIC Chair Madeline Iseli. “We wanted our support for the values King advanced to be visible to the larger community.”
Although united in action, the Oakwood residents who were present had different reasons for why they chose to march. “It’s historically important, and I want to be part of it,” said Karen Bartley. “I came to support awareness of MLK’s leadership," said Marie Iberico; “we can’t afford to forget his words; we need his spirit in today’s world.” Harman School fourth-grader Soren Furmanski admitted that coming to the march sounded important when he agreed to participate but lamented that it was tough to get out of bed on a snowy morning. His older brother Carl, a seventh-grader at Oakwood Junior High School, was more philosophical: “We’re only as strong as our weakest link. I knew if others could march, I could too.” Tim Benford was quite impressed with the number of families present. He believes strongly that King’s singular message to humankind was that we should all be kind to one another. He remarked that it is the children who will carry that message forward and that he admired those parents who made the march a family event.
Participants agreed that it was rewarding to walk in solidarity with people from all over the Miami Valley.