BYU students will celebrate the life and work of American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 20.
Organized by the BYU Multicultural Department, “Walk of Life,” a candlelight procession honoring King will start at 5:30 p.m. at the BYU bell tower and end at the commemoration program at the Wilkinson Student Center, kicking off Black History Month on campus.
King, best known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, pushed for equal rights for all regardless of race or color. He received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work and was killed while planning a campaign on April 4, 1968.
Cultural programs coordinator Mario Pereyra of BYU multicultural student services said the event provides a setting in which students can learn about society and pay respects to King.
“Being culturally educated and some understanding is missed out,” Pereyra said of students who have not been able to attend in the past. “We become more sensitive. More loving when we attend those events.”
For Matt Alexander, a business management major from Wyoming, the candlelight procession gives participants an opportunity to reflect on and remember how American society has changed as a result of King’s efforts.
“You forget about the things he’s done,” Alexander said of King. “It brings it to the forefront of your mind.”
Attending the candlelight procession also gives students an opportunity to meet each other and learn together, according to Alexander.
“It expands your mind,” Alexander said. “You meet a lot of fellow students and celebrate. It’s worth the cold.”
A list of events celebrating Black History can be found on multicultural.byu.edu/content/black-history-month.