Two student leaders from Oklahoma Christian University were present at the March on Washington on August 28.
Kiva Maxwell, SGA junior class president, and Simone Holmes, vice president for the senior class, both stood and marched for social justice.
Maxwell gave her opinion on the march and what it meant for her to be there.
“Marching on Washington was a life-changing and defining moment for me,” Maxwell said. “I was mesmerized by the amount of people who showed solidarity. I honestly had multiple pinch-me moments, because I couldn’t believe I was there. It was amazing to be surrounded with so many Black people from all over. For once, I wasn’t the minority; I was in the majority. It was a rather empowering and uplifting experience. I definitely enjoyed myself.”
Holmes said she had a similar experience.
“The experience of the March was empowering to be able to witness people of every shade and gender coming together for a movement far bigger than ourselves,” Holmes said. “I felt unified to be around people that look like me, and to be marching for the same cause was a sense of solidarity that was indescribable.”
The March lasted an entire day. According to Holmes, the pair arrived in Washington, D.C., at 6 a.m. and left about 3 p.m.
Both gave their reasons for attending the march.
“The March was announced at the funeral of George Floyd,” Holmes said. “Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton had said that they were going back to the place where Martin Luther King Jr. had his famous ‘I Have a Dream Speech’ and that it would be the 57 year anniversary since they marched in Washington. I knew then that I wanted to go, but I didn’t know exactly how. Then my best friend Kiva Maxwell said that’s where she was going to celebrate her 20th birthday with her mom and godmother and asked me if I wanted to join them.”
Maxwell spoke about what it means to attend an event like this in light of current events.
“My birthday is Aug. 28, so I have grown up knowing, researching and learning about the March on Washington for forever,” Maxwell said. “I feel a special connection to the March on Washington. On the same day in 1955, Emmet Till was murdered, and in 1963 MLK gave his speech. In 2008, on that same day, Obama accepted the nomination for president. I know that I am a promise and a living manifestation of what everyone marched for 57 years ago.”
Maxwell said she valued her experience at the march.
“I went because it was the right thing to do” Maxwell said. As a person who advocates for equality across the board, it made sense for me to be at one of the biggest demonstrations of equality and respect. I went and stood for all of the many Black Americans who lose their lives to systemic racism in its many ugly forms. I went because I needed to be reminded that I am the dream, and that I have to continue the work that was started and left for me.”
Maxwell said people also took action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by receiving temperature checks, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer.
“I have never seen 250,000 people social distance so well in my life,” Maxwell said. “There were more people wearing masks than in Oklahoma currently.”
When asked whether or not they would march again, both said they would “in a heartbeat.”
“The March on Washington will be an experience that I will treasure forever,” Holmes said. “I’m living and breathing history in the making. I am what my ancestors fought so tirelessly for.”