Candles light the ‘Walk of Life’

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    By Rayana Hunt

    A string of hundreds of candles lit up on campus on Jan. 21 as students gathered for the annual “Walk of Life” march, in commemoration of the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Students, faculty and members of the community braved the cold at the Carillon Bell Tower at sundown, holding candles with flames shielded by paper cups.

    Together, people from many cultures marched to the Wilkinson Student Center, singing hymns and remembering the immortal words of King.

    “Martin Luther King”s message is not for blacks only,” said Black Student Union choir member, Siobhan Ollivierre, 20, of Vancouver, Wash., as she prepared for the march.

    Ollivierre, a senior majoring in sociology said, “His message will be greatly portrayed at this event and at the Wilk.”

    Marchers gathered at the Wilkinson Center Terrace for a musical program honoring King, America, equality and spirituality.

    Musical groups combined individuals from many cultural backgrounds. Participants heard performances by Jericho Road, Divine Heritage, the Black Student Union choir, Once Voice and Audare and Lisiate.

    Abe Mills gave an emotional delivery of King”s power speech “I Have a Dream.” The terrace frequently erupted with clapping and cheers.

    The final part of King”s speech was broadcast on a big screen before a solemn and respectful crowd. The audience gave a standing ovation at King”s conclusion of, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we”re free at last.”

    Divine Heritage singer James Senior, 25, a junior studying sociology from San Jose, Calif., said, “Martin Luther King did a lot not just for Black Americans, but his principles apply to all people.”

    Andrew Ahn, 29, a senior from Irvine, Calif., majoring in music carried a portrait of King as he marched. Ahn has been involved with the “Walk of Life” since 1994, when Asian culture was included in the multicultural program and he became involved with its activities.

    Ahn supports the walk to give “respect for Martin Luther King.”

    “I think it”s definitely a good gesture. People are showing an attitude of showing they care,” Ahn said.

    Renee Miller, 19, sophomore from Brooklyn, N.Y., a pre-media arts major, conducted the program at the Bell Tower. Miller said the walk celebrates King”s life, but is also a way for the community to get involved.

    “It”s for the community to experience new culture, diversity and experience what it was that Dr. King wanted to come to pass,” Miller said.

    Jim Slaughter, Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Services, has overseen the walk for the past five years. He believes the greatest effect the walk has occurs on an individual level.

    “As changes happen for the individual, that”s the important thing,” said Slaughter.

    Allen Thompson, 24, a senior studying Japanese from Cache County, Utah, said he came to learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

    “I hope to meet a lot of the people from a variety of cultures and kind of understand more of what this holiday is about,” Thompson said.

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