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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Candlelight Vigil: "This Little Light of Mine"

The annual Candlelight Vigil in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is indeed, one of the most solemn events held in the Kingsport community.

As participants braved a little nip in the air and persistant little raindrops, they also honored the memory of local Riverview residents who have passed during the past year.

Click here to see a slideshow of the candlelight vigil.

"Programs like this are helpful and respectful in the community," says Tyson Keller, Kingsport Parks & Rec program administrator at the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex. "Our biggest mission is promoting family, because once you do that, you gain a trust that allows people to interact with each other, and whenever we have family-based programs here, people will come out and participate."

Five candles were lit in honor of several areas of family and community life: Youth, Unity, Love, Working Together, and Remembrance.

The first candle for YOUTH, was lit by Jessica Kerney, with the Riverview Unit of the Kingsport Boys & Girls Club:

"I want to light this candle in honor of the youth, so that they can understand diversity, and also not just to understand it, but to celebrate it. They look at each other every day and they don't see any differences in each other, even though each is unique in their own way. Each brings something unique and different to the table that we all share. They need to know that it's OK to be different, and it's OK to look at someone who is not like them, and to love them. Sometimes as adults, we forget that kids are our future, and we need to move that to the top of the list of things to remember."

The second candle represents UNITY, and was lit by Tyson Keller:

"I light this candle so that hopefully, we can all come together and to continue taking back our community. There is a lot of really strong heritage here. Let's come together in the year 2012, and keep our community strong. Coming from the different communities that I have lived in, I have seen some really good programs that have worked for residents, and we hope to continue those programs here. I would like to do a lot of family-based programs, things that not just bring the kids together, but the adults as well. Things like games that everybody can play, family movie night. You'll see us partner up with some of the groups in the community that you're familiar with, to push that message of togetherness along."

The third candle represents LOVE, and was lit by the Reverend Charles Hawkins, pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Zion Church in Riverview:

"I light this candle on behalf of the Kingsport Ministerial Alliance. Many of us remember the civic duties of Dr. King, and we must remember that his first passion was the Church.. that he was Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Bible teaches us that we are Christ's Disciples by our love, so let us continue to try our best to show love towards one another, and even those in spite of our differences, because that is what God would have us to do."

The fourth candle represents WORKING TOGETHER, and was lit by Danelle Glasscock, Executive Director of the United Way of Greater Kingsport:

"We have a motto at United Way: Live United. I was thinking this morning, how appropriate this motto is for today about living united. I also was thinking about the sentence "blessed are the peacemakers" and what a great day to be thinking about that, in honor of Dr. King. At the United Way, we see a lot of needs in our community, as I know you all do, too. There are so many people in our community who care about others, that give, that volunteer their time and that advocate on behalf of making this a better place. I know we all want to be a part of that, and I thank you all for being a part of that, too. We're honored to be working together with you.. over 10,000 people in this community that give to the United Way to support things like the Riverview Boys & Girls Club. We're also honored to be working together with you in this historic building, and we're happy to have and continue that partnership."

The fifth and final candle represents REMEMBRANCE, and was lit by 12-year-old Savion Camp, 6th grader at Lincoln School:

"We've had a lot of people pass away in Riverview, but even though we still love them, we know they have gone on to a better place. We've still got troubles, but we can beat them and make this a good place to live."