Candlelight vigil to shed light on contributions of MLK Jr.

A candlelight vigil will take place Jan. 17 for students, faculty and community members to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

This ceremony will be one of a few events that will be held in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. starting next week. Marshall University has always had a day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but the Student Government Association wants to do more.

“We always have off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and usually that has just been a day off for students and faculty,” SGA President Matt Jarvis said. “But what we have done this year is look at what is this holiday and what does it represent? Who does it represent and what can we learn from that?”

Jarvis said that he wants to see the university more “on” rather than “off” when it comes to honoring individuals like Martin Luther King Jr.

“Instead of another day off we are looking for a day on and leading into Black History Month, have a month on,” Jarvis said.

The week will start Monday with a group of students who will be going to the Cabell Huntington Hospital to read to patients and discuss what Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s “dream” means.

Tuesday evening, there will be a candlelight vigil starting at 5:30 p.m. There will be an introduction, followed by a reenactment reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech.

“I think maybe what will surprise a lot of people is that we are going to try to have as many different nationalities, as many different people that we can, represented during the reenactment,” Jarvis said.

Wednesday, a group will be heading to a local school to talk to students. Younger students will be read books and stories on how to be leaders in their classroom. The older students will be a part of an open discussion about what the “I Have a Dream” speech means today.

“With that, talk to them about leadership, talk to them about civic engagement, really issues that maybe seventh and eighth graders are not thinking about now, but hopefully we can start this conversation that whenever they do become hopefully future Marshall students or wherever they go to school, they can take these lessons of passion, humility, of peace, and nonviolence and talk about them in an easy and comfortable way,” Jarvis said.

David Crawley, president of Marshall University’s Young Democrats, said the lessons learned from King are still important and relevant in today’s society.

“I think it is important that we remember Dr. King for everything that he stood for and the reason he was taken from the world so soon. We need to take his lessons to heart and we need to keep moving forward. I think that celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and having these events is a way to actively remember him.”

Alexis Leach can be contacted at [email protected].