WILBERFORCE, Ohio – Today, Monday honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Christopher Arrone, a Central State University graduate who is also a former Mr. CSU, challenged students to “Wake up, and dream again.” Arrone served as keynote speaker of today’s ‘March to Freedom’ event, which started on the campus of CSU, a historically black college or university (HBCU), earlier this morning.
“Good morning everybody,” said Arrone, who is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, to a crowd of some 100 students arriving at the local Xenia Courthouse after a brief walk from the Sunken Garden on campus.
“When I did this march [last year] it was freezing cold,” Arrone said “…I thought that I would have 10 to 15 minutes [to speak] if it was cold, but since it’s warm I’ll talk to you guys for about an hour.”
“Is that okay?” he asked, as the audience let out a laugh.
The student-led march, organized by members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Delta Xi Chapter, started at 10 am. In advance to walking 3.6 miles in a mostly clear sky, 46 degree-day to the neighboring town of Xenia, hot refreshments was served by the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Beta Xi Chapter.
“It is my pleasure to serve as an alarm clock, and I say, ‘Wake up!’” Arrone said, echoing “Dap” from the Spike Lee joint ‘School Daze’ played by Laurence Fishburne whose message to the student body at fictional Mission College (a Black college in the film) was to wake up and take control of their lives. “…We cannot lose our purpose, we have to wake up!” he said.
“We cannot lose our identity, we have to wake up! We cannot lose our dream, we have to wake up!”
He continued, “Some of us are sleep walking, sleep walking is described as a disorder that occurs when people walk, or are doing other activities while they are still sleep,” he said.
“…Some of us are sleep walking with our friends when we just chill, we are sleep walking when we sleep in and let our days go by… We are not really aiming to accomplish something in our day to day lives,” Arrone said, stating that sleep walking is ‘dangerous.’
Founded Jan. 8, 1951 on the campus of Central State University, the only public HBCU in the state of Ohio, Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has organized a student-led march to the local Xenia Courthouse since the early 1980s.
“This is a march that is done to honor Dr. King and the work that he has done,” said now retired CSU Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Mr. Robert Marcus, who is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
“But because of you,” said Mr. Marcus, “…and your support and participation, the dream and the words and the legacy of Dr. King is alive [today].”
He added, “…Actions speak louder than words.”
“If we want to have a better city, a better state and a better nation, then we have to vote,” Mr. Marcus said, challenging CSU students to vote.
“…I speak to you as a man who has made more mistakes than I would want to admit. The God who made Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the same God who made you and me,” Arrone said.
“He made us with just as much purpose and with just as much passion, and with no mistakes… [And] it is His desire for you to fulfill every dream He has given you,” he said. “Wake up, dream again.”
CSU President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, her husband and First Man, Dr. James Eric Hammond Sr. and Mayor of Xenia Marsha J. Bayless was also in attendance during today’s event.