Liberty Twp. hosts joint MLK march with West Chester at Liberty Center

LIBERTY TWP. — The unifying messages of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration echoed Monday through the first commemorative march held in Liberty Twp. in partnership with West Chester.

More than 150 residents — including some MLK award-winning Lakota students — joined local officials and community leaders in a mile-long walk around the Liberty Center.

The march honoring King saw participants symbolically cross the border marked by the Liberty Way road separating the two townships.

Lakota Board of Education member Isaac Adi, a native of Nigeria who periodically cites King’s legacy of racial equality during public meetings of the board, was among those marching.

“I am so excited to be here today. This is a very great day to be celebrating in the United States of America and the Lakota school district,” said Adi.

About two decades ago, Lakota Schools’ African-American student enrollment was in the single digits but now stands at more than 13%.

“We are growing in this community and this is one of the days we remember and celebrate,” said Adi.

The public celebration, which included a post-march ceremony in Liberty Center’s Foundry Mall, was the first in recent years due to health precautions forced by COVID-19.

A group of Lakota students who were winners in a recent district contest with the theme “Unsung Heroes” also took part.

Participating students selected, researched and produced essays, skits, songs, artwork or videos on an individual, group or organization that worked in solidarity with the internationally acclaimed Civil Rights leader.

Students were challenged to reflect on the role they played and the things they accomplished to support the Civil Rights movement.

Independence Elementary fourth-grader Elliana Mosteller was among the winners and marchers.

“I think it’s important to have equality,” said Mosteller.

“If it wasn’t for the people who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., the world would never be the same” for those of all races.

Lakota School Board President Lynda O’Connor praised the student marchers and the importance of the two townships working in unison to honor the national holiday.

“The new route for the Martin Luther King march from West Chester to Liberty is symbolic of the unique partnership between our two townships, brought together by one school district,” said O’Connor.

“To come together on a day that stands for the vision of unity makes it even more significant.”

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