About 100 students and faculty commemorated the birth of Martin Luther King last night with candlelight and song and a march across campus. The candlelight vigil, an annual highlight of King's birthday celebration, began outside W.E.B. DuBois House and proceeded to College Green. The marchers held lit candles and repeatedly sung "We Shall Overcome" as they crossed the campus and gathered around the Ben Franklin statue on the Green. Once reaching the Green, Jessica Dixon, President of the Black Student League, told the group they should live up to the standards set by King. She also said students should appreciate their educations, adding that even though they will be receiving degrees from a prestigious university, they should not forget the less-fortunate. "Our generation, you and I, can fulfill the goals of Dr. Martin Luther King," Dixon said. Afro-American Studies lecturer Eric King addressed the group after Dixon. He told those assembled that they should honor King's memory and carry on his ideals. "The best way to honor his memory is to make his dream real," said King. After King's speech, the group recited a Black Family pledge and returned to DuBois. Some participants said the program encouraged unity among the black community. Others said the program was encouraging because it made them realize they can achieve their goals even in the face of adversity. "We realize we have a long way to go," said College junior Carmen Farrior. "We have to pick up the torch." Geoffrey Cousins, president of Alpha Phi Alpha, said the vigil was a fraternity tradition. Although he felt the turnout was encouraging, he said he wished more had participated. "We always would like to have more people out," said Cousins. The vigil is just one event at the University to honor King. WXPN-FM dedicated part of its annual awards ceremony to honoring King. The ceremony, which featured a reading of the work of poet Sonia Sanchez and music by bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, drew a crowd of 200 to Houston Hall Auditorium. Chuck Stone, Senior Editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, was the honored guest and speaker. His remarks, revolving around the social impact of public broadcasting, were met with laughter from the audience. Stone said newspapers have less impact on the public than radio and television, even though they are more complete. But, Stone said, broadcast journalism is failing the American public. "I think public television is elitist, racist, and I think it's boring as hell," Stone said. "They have these dumb-ass shows." Steve Rowaland, WXPN's artist in residence, then presented a collage of taped voices from students of King School talking about the civil rights leader. Tacuma, with Rick Iannacone and Abdul Rasheed, presented two songs and then accompanied poet Sanchez as she read poetry in a voice that ranged from a soft whisper to a throaty moan. As she ended her presentation, the audience leapt to their feet, applauding wildly. Yasmin Holsey, a College freshman, called the poetry "very inspiring and very touching."Comments powered by Disqus
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