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Omaha area honors Dr. King: 'Representation matters; being able to have your voice, your identity'

Midland University, UNMC and Open Door Mission host MLK events
Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 19:33:02-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — More than 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, his leadership continues to inspire. On Monday, a bevy of events from speeches to art and volunteerism took place and participants reflected on how far we've come as a country and how much further we need to go.

"So this mural, I just now started working on it, I really do love the idea behind it, the sort of messy look that it has, the different colors," said Serenity Durham Goree, a sophomore at Midland University.

Students at Midland are incorporating their thumbprints in a mural as a means of expressing who they are.

"Representation matters; being able to have your voice, your identity, whatever it is represented in the bigger scheme of things and really have that sense of belonging is very, very important," said Midland University Assistant Professor of Art & Design Katy Jones.

Showing up to serve is also reflective of Dr. King's Legacy and it's being fulfilled at Open Door Mission, where hundreds of volunteers helped with sorting and inventory.

"We have more volunteers than we've had in quite a while and they're giving time on their holiday, their day off, to come out and help. And boy do we need it, so we're sure appreciative," said Chief Community Officer Amy Harvey.

"To me, exceptionalism literally means embracing being different, going against the grain of what's considered just the way things are."

Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan was a featured speaker at a celebration recognizing King, co-hosted by Nebraska Medicine and UNMC.

"His life story matters because he moved humanity forward. He did not solve civil rights challenges in this country, but he did move the needle forward," Logan said.

At Midland University, Black Student Union President Serenity Durham Goree promises to keep moving that needle by amplifying and welcoming all voices.

"This is a predominantly white campus. A lot of people of color, of other ethnicities, come here. They're kind of scared. When we thought of Black Student Union, pretty much the fingerprint we want to leave behind, knowing that they're not alone."

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