MLK Jr. annual vigil set for Monday

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

The 32nd annual candlelight vigil and march for Martin Luther King Jr. will be held Monday starting at 5:30 p.m. in Thomas Hall.

The Zeta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is hosting the vigil, and those in attendance will march from Thomas Hall to the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The vigil is followed by a keynote from Andre Allen, the dean of students at Methodist College of UnityPoint Health in Peoria and a member of the fraternity.

The keynote will be at 6 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Union.

Carl Winton, the chapter’s vice president, said King was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and when he found out, he said it was crazy to think that a man of his stature was in his organization.

“It is a proud feeling,” Winton said.

Winton said King being a member of the fraternity plays a part in hosting the vigil, but the vigil is meant to honor King for all that he has done.

“Just being able to honor him on campus and do this vigil for so many years is something great,” Winton said.

Winton said every year there is also a theme to accompany the vigil, and this year is focused on civic engagement in the community.

He said what they want to get across to people is that they should think about what is going on in the world around them and make the decision to act instead of complaining about it.

“Unity, involvement, speaking out for change, being the change you want to see in the community … anything you do that can help the world or the community–you should step up and do it,” Winton said. “Whether it’s big or small, any little thing you can do (matters)–you just have to start somewhere.”

Winton said the theme also reflects the teachings of King and how to live up to all that he did.

As for the marching, Winton said marching, at least for him, is a chance to reflect and think about what it would have been like to march with King.

“The march is actually a time to reflect and think about what these leaders did for us to even be able to march on this campus,” Winton said. “You feel the presence like with the songs you sing and coming together as a union is a great feeling.”

Tarve’a Durant, the treasurer for the fraternity, and Winton said the vigil and march is important for Eastern because it helps promote diversity and bring everyone together.

“Other people outside of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. can get a sense walking along with Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Durant said.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].