State College gathers for 60th anniversary of March on Washington, discusses future
Gathered in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza in downtown State College, community members celebrated the 1963 March on Washington with speakers, music and poetry.
Many discussed the legacy of King and his “I Have a Dream Speech.”
Professor of English and African American studies Keith Gilyard, the event’s keynote speaker, discussed the importance of King’s words but reminded the audience of the work yet to be done in racial justice.
“We may see more justice than we have seen in the past, but justice is not exactly rolling down like waters as King wanted to see,” he said. “Righteousness is not yet rolling down like a mighty stream.”
Gary Abdullah is the chair of the State College Racial Equity Advisory Commission. He was an event organizer and its master of ceremonies.
Abdullah said he was excited to see commemorations like this one being used for “networking” and planning for the future rather than only looking to the past.
“I’ve been in the community for 50 years, and this is the first time anything like this has taken place, where the people who are leaders in social justice come together in one place and say, ‘This is just what we’re going to do for the year,’” he said.
Lenneya Murray spoke as the president of Penn State’s chapter of the NAACP. She went to Washington on Saturday to participate in the 60th anniversary march.
She said the experience was “electric,” and her remarks were partly inspired by what she saw. The junior said she was pleased by the opportunity to speak about her chapter’s goals.
“I got to just tell people that I existed today and that I’m working on good things,” Murray said.