EWU Aims to Send Message to Community Through Participation In MLK Rally


Photo sent in by Kim Davis and edited by Photographer Emily Powers

By Cannon Barnett, Reporter

Eastern Washington University has participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. day Unity Rally and March for as long as Kim Davis has worked at the university — except for the last two years.

The pandemic prevented EWU from being part of the march and rally. But gears are back in motion this year, and Davis, EWU’s senior director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, is optimistic about the impact of gathering for this cause. 

The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center (est. 1970) is a non-profit, community-minded organization that holds an annual unity rally, parade, and resource fair in honor of MLK Jr. day. These events took place on January 16th at the Spokane Convention Center and surrounding area downtown and involved speakers talking about the importance of equity and inclusion. 

Outside of this event, the center has a mission statement listed on its website to “improve the quality of life for children, youth and families in Spokane through an array of culturally responsive educational and social services within the framework of Dr. King’s vision of equal respect, treatment and accessibility for all people.”

Eastern’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has worked with the organization to contribute to its cause in a meaningful way.

“We called the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and asked them, “what is something our campus can do for you? What are you needing?”… and [they] let us know that they were in great need of food,” Davis said.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, partnered with the Africana and Chicano studies departments and the Multicultural center, is currently holding a food drive across campus for this reason. More information on the food drive can be found at the end of this article.

The food drive also acts as a way for students who were unable to participate in the Unity Rally/March to get involved with the organization. Davis mentioned that she would be working towards informing the student body about potential volunteer opportunities as well.

“Talking to students, they really, really care about serving. And, the willingness of our students to actually step up is pretty beautiful,” she said.

Coming out of the pandemic in such a highly connected world as well, Davis believes that the rally and march have a lot of potential to help people rekindle their sense of community.

“We are at a time when the divisiveness of our country has really impacted the well-being of everybody, but especially our students. The march and the rally are a very uplifting, positive opportunity for us to feel unified, and feel that despite everything going on in the world, we’re all about each other [as an Eastern community].”

Davis hopes that by being visible in its support of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, EWU will send a positive message to the greater community. 

“I want the Spokane and vicinity community to know that Eastern is an organization that really cares, that we have amazing, amazing students. We have amazing faculty and staff and these individuals really care,” she said. “We have so many important collaborations in Spokane, so it’s absolutely imperative that they know that we’re committed to this work.”

Non-perishable food can be dropped off at the following locations for the food drive:

Cheney Campus

  • Showalter 114 – Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Monroe 204 – Africana Studies Department
  • Monroe 203 – Chicana/o/x Studies
  • PUB 329 – JLR Multicultural Center
  • PE Classroom Building – 2nd Floor Lobby

Spokane Campus

  • Catalyst Building 118 – 601 E Riverside