Ready, Set, Go! – 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. March Julie Stith – Vice Chair, UCSA Board of Trustees
A group of six of us met at the church and carpooled to the 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. March. Excitement and anticipation built as traffic stalled just one block away from our parking destination. While waiting in traffic (which seemed like forever!), we all talked, laughed, and shared stories. Our fellowship was in true Unity fashion. I’m sure it is safe to speak for the rest of the group that we all felt at home with each other. In fact, there was one couple from church who I had seen and talked to over the years, but never really knew on a personal level. By the end of the March the couple felt like old friends of mine.
By the time we arrived at the parking destination, we were ultimately turned away because the parking lot was full. Fortunately, we were directed to another location which turned out to be better than the first. We parked and had no difficulties making it to the March site. We all lined up with the rest of the participants and started marching.
Along the route, people gathered outside of their homes to watch as waves of marchers walked by. Many of them smiled and waved. There was one home that played old Motown on a loud speaker. I saw an elderly gentleman standing outside another home with family members. The gentleman wore a World War II veteran ball cap and I ran over to thank him for his service. He thanked me for mine also (I forgot I had worn my Navy shirt). There was a group of African American Cowboys riding on horses. I was in awe! Our group held up the UCSA banner as we marched, proud to be a part of such a long tradition. The feeling of love and togetherness among us marchers on that crisp Monday morning was undeniable.
As we marched along the route, I reflected upon what it must have felt like for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. during that march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. I thought about the countless others who marched by his side, arm in arm. Their message of hope and determination for equality and justice among all Americans permeated on that day. Then, I thought about the group I arrived with. My Unity family – different ethnicities, different upbringings, one belief: Love! That is the UCSA spirit. And I felt grateful for being a participant that morning, even if it was over 40 years later.
My intention for sharing this “behind the scenes” story is so that you get a sense of our CommUNITY at UCSA. It fills my spirit knowing that I am always among family whether I am chatting it up in the community center or taking it on the road to participate in community events. Please know that your valuable resources are always used wisely, but more importantly, they are also used to cultivate a community in which we learn, grow spiritually, and create a sense of belongingness. I am looking forward to the 2019 MLK March and hope I see you there!