MADISON, NJ - A candlelight vigil took place in downtown Madison tonight as part of a March for Peace, organized by leaders from the College of St. Elizabeth, Drew University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, as well as Madison's religious community. The vigil was not political, but instead focused on Dr. Martin Luther King's goals for the "beloved community."
"We are gathered here today to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to work towards a beloved community," said Madison's Mayor, Bob Conley. "Today in the news, social media and the spoken word, we constantly see and hear words of hate but we can never hate the person who speaks them if we are truly to achieve a beloved community."
The March for Peace began at Holy Family Church at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Madison and end with the candlelight ceremony on Waverly Place at 6:45p.m. The Madison police department assisted with shutting down the side street to vehicular traffic.
"Looking around this street we see a group marching for peace, we see students from not only three universities, but people of all ages, from many countries and backgrounds. Yes, we are all so different but we are all united for peace and a beloved community," Conley said. "Can this group make a difference in the world today? Just as this march grew at each stop from St. Elizabeth’s, Fairleigh, Drew and the neighborhoods of Madison, so can our message. If we believe and persist we can make a difference."
Along with Mayor Bob Conley, Father George Hundt from Saint Vincent Martyr, and Reverend Dunn from the First Baptist Church of Madison spoke, as well as students and faculty from all three colleges.
The overall message delivered at the vigil spoke to how we are all more alike than we are different, how Dr. King taught us to hate the segregation but love the segregationist, and how a group of people committed to love can change the world.
No political signs were allowed during the march which was originally planned for the week of Martin Luther King Day, but due to conflicts was rescheduled but purposefully kept in February which is designated as Black History Month, according to the coordinating groups.