TU marks King Day with multiple activities

Tiffin University students celebrated the life and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on campus Monday with a series of events.

The day’s events, sponsored by Black United Students and the Diversity Committee, included a movie, “The Help;” a special presentation by Mark Butler, manager of diversity and inclusion at Marathon Petroleum Co. LP; a luncheon; and a student rally.

“Both committees have been working hard to put together a stellar series geared towards educating the campus on the life and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and how it is relevant today,” said Nathan Strickland, president of Black United Students.

“Growing up in the Toledo area, with a public education and public housing, I never thought that I’d be doing this work, traveling the globe talking about diversity and inclusion,” Butler said. “Each of us has a story. I want to give each of you something to think about and I hope that you receive it with the kinship that it was given.”

Butler researched many of the works of King’s career. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is a rise of hope and racial harmony and it is easy to see the defining moment, Butler said.

“The words that King spoke are not just words but a righteous sermon to appeal to racial harmony, love and justice,” he said. “It is easy to become emotional and physically moved by the message, but I think that the mark of the message is being missed, or at times taken out of context.”

Butler quoted lines from King, “One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.”

Many of the messages are not as widely quoted, Butler said. King intended to narrate a national nightmare and hoped to one day inspire a color-blind society and to inspire the nation to enjoy the fruits of the common experiences.

“We, as a nation, must protect our opportunities,” Butler said. “We have to listen to all the works by Dr. King. It is easy to hear the message spoken on that warm day than the cold realities of what first brought the campaign to Washington that day.”

“King forced us to confront social awareness, not with our hands raised or with gunfire. He used social action and Christian ethics,” Butler said. “King had the courage of a soldier on the tip of the sword that was hate and justice. He was a inspired preacher with the spirit of God and was a mirror man like you and me.”

Butler is nationally recognized as a thought leader in regards to diversity and inclusion. Over the last five years, he has spoken to more than 5,000 employees and session attendees inside and outside of the company.

Butler graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He joined Marathon Oil Co. in 1981 and during his years with the company, Butler has had a variety of positions within human resources. In 2002, he was assigned to his current position and he is responsible for the development and implementation of diversity initiatives that create an environment where the talents and differences of all employees are respected and valued for business success.

“King had to go one-on-one with his choices. We have it in our ability not to just achieve his dream, but to make it a reality,” Butler said. “I wanted to have a different message that would generate thought and a deeper analysis of what is always said about Dr. King.”