SPRINGFIELD, NJ — As part of the annual marking of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in town, the Springfield Township Committee hosted a vigil for peace to give residents a forum to discuss King's life and legacy.
Sitting in a circle around the room, attendees sat side by side with local government and religious leaders, as they shared their thoughts about the holiday, how far the country has come in realizing King's dream, and how far it still has to go.
At the end of the event, Springfield Mayor Chris Capodice read the town's proclamation for the holiday. The group then joined hands to sing "We Shall Overcome" a song traditionally associated with the Civil Rights Movement.
When asked about what it means to put on this event, Capodice said it was an honor to bring members of the community together for this purpose.
"It means a lot for me," Capodice said. "Especially that my family is here to share in the memory and share in the stories, so my children are able to hear a lot about Dr. King's legacy. It was an honor for me to do this today. I love how the room gets bigger and bigger every year, to hear about Dr. King's message, which is timeless."
One of those community members was Sherri Franklin. She echoed Capodice's thoughts on the event growing in importance each year, as more people attend.
"I grew up in Springfield," Franklin said. "And I've been coming to this for many years. And I love it because I think that it gets bigger and bigger every year, and it's really interesting to share the stories. It's nice to find out everybody's different experiences. And it's a wonderful thing we do here, and I hope that it will continue."