Martin Luther King Jr. is a man who had the courage to fight for what he believed in and provided a voice for a community that was forced into silence for far too long.
On Monday evening, Mills Lawn was filled with both the aroma of southern home cooking and students, faculty and staff dedicated to honoring the legacy of King. In anticipation of the vigil, people from the Rollins and Winter Park communities mingled, and shared a meal while making sure King’s dream survived. Attendees participated in a collaborative drum circle designed to unite community members through the power of music.
The Knowles Memorial Chapel was filled to capacity as Mahjabeen Rafiuddin, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, announced a moment of silence to honor King’s memory. The events were a part of MLK Week, championed by OMA. The week embodied the mission of Rollins College: to find your purpose and be responsible leaders and global citizens.
As Amy Uhl ‘13 said, “The vigil is a beautiful ceremony — seeing the Rollins family come together and celebrate the life of a hero was a powerful way to start the year.”
The vigil began with Rollins Interfaith Initiative quoting peace makers and books that promoted King’s dream. Ruqayyah Ali ’14 quoted the Koran, saying, “Those who act kindly in this world shall receive kindness.” Rollins’ Upward Bound Seniors recited speeches they wrote illuminating the spark that King’s words instilled in them.
The keynote speaker of the event, Fairolyn Livingston, Hannibal Square Heritage Center’s historian and manager, spoke about her experiences at Rollins as a student, and her experiences as a young black woman during the Civil Rights movement.
D’Vonte Chapman ‘14 received a standing ovation during his rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” bringing back the strength and determination that King and the Civil Rights movement represented. Dean of the Chapel Patrick Powers brought the evening to a close with a beautiful and empowering speech.
Throughout the week, the Office of Multicultural Affairs held numerous events in celebration of King, including a viewing of The Help, a DREAM Act Rally, a Day of Service, and bringing the week to a close, a visit from a Gospel Choir from a Harlem high school.