Residents mark MLK day with march

By Clarence Plank:PNT Staff Writer

Sixty Portales residents joined together in marching in the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

As the group made its way up Second Street to Abilene Street and the Memorial Building, people did stop to take notice.

For the Sigma Chi fraternity at Eastern New Mexico University, this was the first time they had people on campus to march.

“We knew about it ahead of time so we could plan for it so we would have enough guys to march,” Sigma Chi member Alan Kinlund said. “We were impressed with the amount of people who showed up for the march.”

Once at the Memorial Building, people listened to the Portales High School band play.

Cultural Affairs Committee member Oscar Robinson said when people heard the band, they came out to watch and some even joined the march.

ENMU student Jon Gallegos said children and families were standing on the sides.

“And some of them just joined in and started walking with us,” he said. “I thought that was really cool that community was showing their support.”

This was the first time the PHS band participated in the march. Band director Jennifer Johnson said the band being part of the event was very important.

“I think it is important for the community and the children in the band,” Johnson said. “It is just a good representation of community support. It was an honor to be asked to play, and once talking to the band, we figured it would be a worthwhile thing to be in the march.”

Band member Brandon Schmidt, 17, said when he heard the word “parade,” he thought it was going to be drawn out.

“I didn’t realize that it was just us,” Schmidt said. “We decided to do this to show our support for this great day in our nation.”

As part of the day’s celebrations, people could see “The Meeting,” a movie portraying a fictional meeting between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. ENMU employees and two actors held a panel discussion on the movie, King and Malcolm X.

Some band members played a dual role because they were part of the PHS choir, which performed after the panel discussion.

“I know this day is important to people,” Schmidt said when he learned that people were joining the march after hearing the band play. “It also drives it home that the town supports the band and supports the people who put on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”