Anya Sczernenie, Contributing Writer
About 100 participants gathered in Richmond on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for a candlelight vigil and march Jan. 21 in remembrance of the late civil rights icon, despite below-freezing temperatures.
After a performance of a short song by the Black Awakening Choir, attendees silently walked from the Depot on Broad Street to the Shafer Court Dining Center while holding candles. Marchers then gathered on the first floor of Shafer in Rodney’s for a reading of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
The event was organized by the Theta Rho chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the first black Greek-letter organization in the U.S. King was a member of the historic organization at Boston University.
“We’ve been doing this event for eight years,” said Kari X. Richardson, one of the organizers. “This is the first time the wind chill has been so bad, but the fact that people came out despite the weather shows how much of an impact King had.”
The group of mostly black students united with peers of all races to pay homage to one of the most prominent figures in American history. Among those who participated was VCU alum Shawn Stuckey, who said King has impacted his life as a black person in the U.S.
“For me, it’s just about thinking about how privileged I am,” Stuckey said. “Sixty years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to have the job or education I have. I just want to remember all the things he did for African-Americans.”
VCU has designated a week in temporal proximity to Martin Luther King Jr. Day for observance of the holiday since 2014.