By Jonah Grinkewitz

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Old Dominion University will honor the civil rights leader with on-campus and virtual events.

Various student groups will march from Hugo A. Owens House through the Quad to the University Webb Center on Jan. 17. ODU's Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., chapter and the Office of Intercultural Relations are organizing the march. King joined the fraternity while earning his doctorate at Boston University.

ODU's African Student Association, National Society of Black Engineers, NAACP and more will participate.

The march begins at 1 p.m. behind Owens House and will culminate with a celebration in the Hampton Newport News Room in Webb Center. Hot chocolate will be served and members of ODU's Ebony Impact Gospel Choir will perform.

The Rev. Edward Sivells Sr., pastor of Breaking of Day Ministries Church in Virginia Beach, will deliver remarks.

The theme of the march is "lifting your voice."

Malyk Logan, president of ODU's chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, said the theme was inspired by a speech King gave in 1967, in which he said, "A time comes when silence is betrayal."

"(The march is about) being able to lift your voice and do it peacefully, being able to show unity and solidarity without having to be forceful. I think it's a great opportunity to reach out, push back and show what Martin Luther King Jr. did peacefully," Logan said.

The march will begin at Owens House to honor Hugo A. Owens Sr., also a former Alpha brother, who fought for the rights of Black people in Portsmouth in the 1950s and '60s.

Owens, who was appointed to ODU's Board of Visitors in 1990, became the board's first African American rector in 1992.

His son, Hugo A. Owens Jr., is an advising graduate chapter member of Alpha Phi Alpha and will participate in the march.

Face coverings will be required during the march.

ODU is also a sponsor of the 38th Annual Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc., Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders Awards event.

Pharrell Williams, Grammy award-winning musician, producer and philanthropist, will be the keynote speaker.

The virtual event is free and starts at 8 a.m. Jan. 17. Register here to attend.

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