Wacoans gather for MLK candlelight vigil

Photo By Constance Atton | Lariat Photographer
Photo By Constance Atton | Lariat Photographer

By Jordan Corona
Staff Writer

The sun set behind the Washington Street bridge Monday evening, while Waco citizens gathered to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a candlelight vigil on the east side of the Brazos River.

Waco resident Coque Gibson organized the event to honor King’s legacy for social change.

“We need to get all people to be connected,” she said.
The theme for the event was about being social bridge-builders.

“One of the reasons we had Judge Starr come was to keep Baylor connected,” she said.

President Ken Starr gave a brief address following an invocation by Ramiro Peña of Christ the King Baptist Church. His talk cited Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

“We need to remember how it all began like the parable of the mustard seed,” he said. Starr talked about the people whose faith animated the civil rights movement.

Then he drew upon the theme of the evening, calling education a “bridge for everyone.”

Rev. Delvin Atchison of Antioch Baptist Church delivered a keynote calling his audience to set community goals, celebrate the city’s diversity, commit to personal development and remain determined to make the community better with spiritual direction.

“The whole city is moving forward, not just economically,” Atchison said. He said his goal, as a community leader, is to make sure no one is left out.

After Atchison’s keynote, Starr said an aim for his administration was about fostering a sense community between Baylor and the city of Waco.

“There are strong bonds between Baylor and the city of Waco,” he said. “We need to make them stronger.”

The program featured musical performances by the Waco Community Choir and local ensemble, the Olive Angels and other residents.

After dark, the attendees lit each others’ candles, joining voices, sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Waco resident, Virgi, who prays around the city, raised his two staffs and lifted his voice at the last refrain.

“I try to be an example of love and unity and truth for my community,” he said. “Today, I pray that God unify us like never before.”