This year’s Martin Luther King Celebration event at Green Mountain College focused on the theme “Freedom from Oppression.”
Dozens of people gathered on the steps of Ames Hall with homemade banners, mostly painted with quotes of King, to march in single-digit temperatures to St. Raphael’s Church, where a lunch was served.
The parade was preceded by remarks from Black Lives Matter Vermont co-founder Ebony Nyoni.
Her speech called for an end of racism at its roots, which she said extends as far as Africa. “Racism is not just in the United States,” she said, citing recent and historical events in Zambia.
Nyoni’s speech also touched on the recent remarks by President Donald Trump.
The speech was ended by a chant of “Black Lives Matter,” and a moment of silence for Erica Garner, who passed away after complications from asthma at the end of this past December.
Garner was the daughter of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a choke hold during his arrest by New York City police officers in 2014.
His daughter rose to prominence as an activist speaking out against police brutality.