Illuminated by a wax candle wedged into a paper cup, Ronisha Frazier marched through campus Monday, just one of nearly 50 other members of the campus community.
Lyrics to the song “We Shall Overcome,” laughter and high spirits filled the night air as Frazier, a senior family and consumer sciences major, joined others to commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
The candlelit vigil march sent students and faculty members walking from Thomas Hall to the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Monday in remembrance of King.
Frazier said one of the main reasons she decided to march was because it was a good way to honor King’s life.
“I always want to make sure people know why he fought for us,” she said. “I want to portray that out to this generation.”
Frazier added she thought the world might not be the way it is now if not for King.
Monday’s candlelit march was the 27th march hosted by members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
The march between Thomas Hall and the Union represents the Civil Rights marches that took place in areas such as Birmingham, Ala.
For students like Angelica Brack, a junior recreation administration major, the vigil represented a community coming together.
“It’s about unity,” she said. “Everybody is supporting and celebrating his life, and giving back to the community.”
Salonje Dorsey, a sophomore pre-nursing major, said it was her first time taking part in a celebratory vigil for King.
“I wanted to start being more involved on campus,” she said.
She added she believed King is relevant in modern society, especially on Eastern’s campus because of how multicultural the campus is.
Before the march began, students were encouraged to write down what their dreams were, under the banner “Dreams Never Fade.”
Chris Colson, a first year graduate student in the counseling department, wrote down his dream: “To be able to get back to my community, and have a positive impact on everyone I come in contact with.”
Latarius Ferguson, a senior marketing major, also wrote down a dream pertaining to his community – but decided to go further.
“To see the growth and development not only in the local community, but nation-wide,” Ferguson inscribed.
Other dreams, like Reggie Williams’, a senior athletic training major, revolved around relationships between people.
“That unity continues to grow and improve with time,” he wrote down on the poster.
Cameron Douglas, the president of Alpha Phi Alpha, said this year’s vigil went as smooth as could be.
“Weather was pretty nice,” he said. “It wasn’t that rough.”
As smooth as things went, however, Douglas said one thing he would like to improve on for next year’s vigil would be the marchers’ participation in singing.
He said a few ideas included handing out pamphlets with the lyrics or tweaking the lyrics to be easier to understand.
Along with the march, Andrew Robinson, a communications professor, was honored with the Alpha Image Award – an award that has been given out since the start of the vigil marches.
Robinson said he was extremely honored, but added no award comes from a lone person.
“No award is achieved by an individual,” he said. “For this there were plenty of people involved.”
Robinson said he served to help others in the campus community.
The Alpha Image Award defines leadership and community service, qualities Robinson said were fitting given the day.
“The key is love,” he said. “And Martin Luther King Jr. is the greatest example. He loved people.”
Bob Galuski can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]