Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., honors MLK Day with vigil and ceremony


Ashanti Thomas

Nile Hill, a senior management major, leads the march from Thomas Hall to Martin Luther King Jr. University Union in celebration of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s 36th annual MLK, Jr. vigil and program event on Monday evening.

Cam'ron Hardy, News Editor

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. vigil and ceremony. The event started at 5 p.m. at Thomas Hall.

Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., put sign boards with words such as “Equality and “BLM” which allowed students to write their own messages, some of which read, “Women’s Rights” and “Keep the dream alive”.

After signing the board, those who attended were instructed to grab a cup with a candle glued inside them that were available. Those in attendance walked with their candles to the Martin Luther King Jr. Union.

Students and faculty light candles for the Martin Luther King Jr. vigil hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and march from Thomas Hall to Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Monday evening. (Ashanti Thomas)

 Songs such as “This Little Light of Mine” and “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” were sung by audience members while walking to the MLK Jr. Union.

For the Martin Luther King, Jr. vigil and march hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., students and faculty marching in the vigil sing together “This Little Light of Mine,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” on Monday. (Ashanti Thomas)

Member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Nick Trimble, and a senior psychology major, spoke about why the vigil was so important.

“The reasoning for this vigil march is to keep up the tradition of honoring our late brother Martin Luther King Jr.,” Trimble said. “[The vigil march] is to uphold his legacy, striving towards equality and peace. It is also to shed light on and recognize his accolades when he was alive.”

Trimble also said that the goal of the event was to allow students to be more knowledgeable about King Jr., and to know more about his journey and how much of an impactful he had.

Another member of the Alpha Phi Alpha, Yaree Wilson, and a senior computer information technology major, talked about what all went into getting the event set up.

“Much of the credit is to go to the King Jr., Visual Planning Committee,” Wilson said. “Basically, we spent the last couple of months just putting together a marching program for the students here at Eastern Illinois University.”

After arriving at the MLK Jr. Union, a speaker was given by Erika Weaver.

At the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. program hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., everyone joins together to take a picture with the portrait of MLK JR. in the Grand Ballroom of Martin Luther King Jr. University Union on Monday. (Ashanti Thomas)

Weaver talked about the hardships they faced and gave the crowds words to encourage them.

Other events took place at the event such as a song performed by Trimble, and Faith Johnson, a senior business management major. A video dance performance was also displayed for the audience members.

Ashaureah Reed, a sophomore fashion design and merchandising major, said how the event made her feel.

“The song sung by brother Nick made me cry,” Reed said. “I had to step out and get it all out.”

Reed also said that the speech given by Weaver made her “feel very great” about herself.

“It made me feel like I have a lot of things to look forward to in the future,” Reed said. “It really made me think about all the people that come before me and all the hard work that they had to put in for me to get where I am today and study the things that I study today.”

Nick Trimble, a senior psychology major, sings a song and recites a poem during the program for Martin Luther King Jr. in the MLK Jr. Grand Ballroom on Monday evening. (ASHANTI THOMAS)

Awards were also given out at the event.

Raiven Jones, a senior majoring in biochemistry, was awarded the Annie C. Singleton Award and Shawn Peoples won the Alpha Image Award.

Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].