Alice Millar Chapel makes you think. On MLK evening, the reverent space brought together a fraternity, a speaker, two chaplains, an organist, a harpist, and over one hundred guests to reflect on the activist’s life and work for a community Candlelight Vigil. The event concluded the MLK Day programming put together by a committee of students and faculty who coordinated speakers and volunteerism.
Though the stained glass windows and enormous bible quotes lining the chapel can be imposing, the voices of multicultural a capella groups sung songs of trial and tribulation, community, and comfort. Featured speaker Tim King, CEO of Urban Prep Academies, shared thoughts on family, character, and change. His reflection encouraged each guest to be humbled yet emboldened by the work of champions for future generations who would never see the realization of their famed dreams. King’s three Chicago academies have succeeded dramatically with 100% graduation rates since their openings in 2006, 2009, and 2010. King spoke with admiration for Dr. King, appreciation for Northwestern’s support, and adulation of his Urban Prepsters – he exemplifies a true practice of his own preaching.
Candles illuminated the space, held by the hands of students, faculty, and Evanstonians filling dozens of pews as a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. read from MLK’s journals from years in jail. The night concluded with an organ tune most identifiable with the opening chords of Phantom of the Opera but nothing dark or dastardly happened in the evening – just an opportunity to see Northwestern at its finest: diverse, creative, intellectual, and warm. The ceremony hopefully will continue the legacy of service dedication and multicultural engagement displayed by today’s events. Not to mention, the vigil was followed with a buffet reception.
If you skipped out, make a point of going next year, whether for the community spirit or the fried chicken.