GRAND RAPIDS — While a year’s worth of controversial and highly disputed efforts to rename a city street after Martin Luther King Jr. have yet to produce such a monument, a combined student-faculty effort at Aquinas College has succeeded in doing so, as today the school will dedicate Martin Luther King Jr. Lane.
In the midst of the city’s most heated arguments on the subject, Campus Life Director Dave Weinandy suggested to Student Senate Director of Student Affairs Paula Rosenberg the drafting of a resolution requesting that the campus take the initiative of creating a Martin Luther King Jr. street.
Rosenberg’s resolution suggesting Ginko Lane be renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Lane was unanimously passed by the student senate. Harry Knopke, president of Aquinas College, signed off on the resolution last November, and the Board of Trustees approved the request soon after.
“Martin Luther King had such an impact not only on our country but on everyone that is in college today,” Rosenberg said. “Our experiences in higher education, no matter where your college was located, would be completely different had the civil rights movement not happened.”
Gingko Lane runs through campus behind the Cook Carriage House, next to the soccer field and into Woodward Lane SE. A major hub of campus activity, it is the home of the Student Activities Office, Multicultural Affairs Office and Student Senate.
The street sign, reading “ML King, Jr. Lane,” already is mounted.
“I think it’s really easy for people who are my age who were not alive during the civil rights movement to take for granted that less than 40 years ago there was so much oppression and segregation in our country,” Rosenberg said.
Rev. George Heartwell, mayor of Grand Rapids and an Aquinas College professor, will lead a blessing on the patio of the Cook Carriage House today at 12:15 p.m.