Hampton University students find the King in themselves at annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day service

Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor


Llaran Turner (@liventertainmentstudios)

The crisp Hampton winter air of 21 degrees couldn’t keep more than 100 students from marching through the campus for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March this past Monday. Following the march, the keynote speaker empowered students to find the King within themselves during the service.

“Just like the ’60s needed King and so many others, we need the King in you,” Bishop Derek T. Triplett, this year’s keynote speaker, said to the students in the Memorial Chapel. “Every one of you sitting here today has some dimension of King in you that we need.”

The speaker gave students advice on finding their motivation, as many students are at a point where they are still trying to plan their futures. He stressed that one’s passion should contribute to improving the community around them.

“Passion is not simply drive,” Triplett said. “Your passion is that for which you are willing to suffer. Find something that benefits other people in which you are willing to suffer.”

Using a story about a Scottish pastor who died young, Triplett also reminded students that they can’t contribute to others if they don’t first engage in self-care.

“This young pastor as he was dying said: ‘God gave me a message to carry and a horse to ride. Alas, I’ve killed the horse, so I can’t carry the message,’” Triplett said, sharing this story with the students. “Take care of yourselves.”

Triplett is no stranger to speaking in churches. He has had more than 20 years in pastoral ministry and is the founding pastor of Hope Fellowship Church in Daytona Beach, Florida. He is also credited as being a talented musician, teacher and author.

This service resonated with students; they stayed attentive throughout the speaker’s address and gave him a round of applause following his message.

“I think that service today was really necessary,” said Madison Mckinney, a sophomore from Georgia. “Sometimes in school, we kind of lose sight of why we are here and our overall purpose. The speaker made that message really easy to understand.”

Students weren’t the only ones to attend the March and service. Many faculty and staff members, as well as members of the community, also attended to celebrate the life of King, such as Dean of Residence Life Jewel Long, who has been with the university for more than 50 years.

“I think he challenged you and the challenge is one that is easy for anyone to accomplish,” Dean Long said about Triplett’s speech. “It gave you an opportunity to check where your shortcomings might be to try to find out if what you’re doing is really worthwhile. And if it’s not, then maybe you need to explore something else.”

This year the march was lead by Hampton’s collegiate chapter of NAACP whose members had marched in Washington during the Women’s March just a day earlier.

The chapter’s President, Jeremiah Edwards, a senior history major, gave an emotional address that morning as he described his admiration for Rev. Dr. King. He also challenged the students to positively contribute to their community.

The senior questioned the audience, “What are you going to do today in order to make tomorrow better?”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s