Community remembers and celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.


Molly Dotson

Jenel Murray, a community member and former Eastern student, sings the Black National Anthem during the Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Loren Dickson, Contributing Writer

An array of voices joined together to sing, pray and discuss the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at a vigil Monday.

Faculty members, students and community members walked from Thomas to the Grand Ballroom, in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

This was Eastern’s 30th vigil in honor of King.

The vigil, titled The Audacity to Still Dream, also consisted of piano playing, a poetry reading, prayer and a discussion panel.

Deja Dade, a junior communication studies and theatre arts major, presented a poem titled

“The Ultimate Dreamer.”

“That on this life-changing day, a person with my blood can call themselves a CEO, doctor, lawyer, or even the first African-American president of the United States,” Dade recited. “Your dream made us see things in a reality, teaching us that we are worthy and can achieve it all.”

Jenel Murry, a community member, sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” also known as the “Black National Anthem.”

Murry’s voice projected throughout the University’s ballroom as she sang the lyrics, “We have come over a way that with tears has been watered. We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, out from the gloomy past. Till now we stand at last, where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.”

An award was also presented at the tribute. Maggie Burkhead, the director of TRiO,received the MLK Humanitarian award.

During the discussion panel, a question was asked about how technology can be used to advance the present-day civil rights movement.

Jerome Hampton, a junior business management major, said there are books that can be used to educate people on how to reach crowds using different platforms.

“I want people to know that you can use social media as a way to have your voice heard by millions of people,” Hampton said.

Hampton said that he decided to participate in the tribute because it gave him a chance to have a voice and to share his perspective.

“My philosophy is that you have to lead by example, and that is what Martin Luther King has taught me,” Hampton said.

Yolanda Williams, an academic adviser for the Gateway program, also participated in the discussion.

“Before we discuss racism, social ills and our responsibility, we have to understand the history of African-Americans,” Williams said.

Williams said what she enjoyed most about participating in the tribute is remembering Martin Luther King Jr. and how he has affected her personally.

“He is still influencing people and making a difference all these years later,” she said.

Jeffton Jones, assistant pastor for ACTS campus ministry, said this is a sentimental and sacred day that we should celebrate.

“I’ve got my own dream, where I pray that one day, similar to Martin Luther King’s, that we can all just fall in love with Jesus. That is my hope,” he said.

Jones said that King has positively impacted his life because as he is a black male, King has set the tone for equality and made it possible for him to be treated fairly.

After the discussion, everyone joined hands while Jones closed the tribute with a prayer.

“We thank you for life. We thank you for everything you’ve given to us, Jesus. Lord we know that we have many more things to accomplish while being on this earth and we’re praying for your strength to do these things,” Jones said.


Loren Dickson can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]