By Courtney Waslh
Members of the Hofstra community gathered on Feb. 21, the anniversary of Malcolm X's assassination, to honor his memory. The candlelight vigil, sponsored by the MALIK fraternity, has become an annual event at Hofstra University and provides students with not only the opportunity to recall their heritage but to pay homage to the heroes in their lives.
"The vigil provided awareness… Malcolm X isn't usually spoken of in a great light, so if helps if not just to showcase his achievement and what he meant to us… and to show positivity," said the President of MALIK's Hofstra chapter, Andy Pina. "The purpose was to basically celebrate Malcolm X but also to celebrate the life and times of our heroes, whether it be civil rights movement or just human rights movement."
Malcolm X was born May 1924 as Malcolm Little. Also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Malcom X was an African-American Muslin minister, human rights activist and public speaker. He traveled throughout the Middle East and Africa and founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and eventually the Africanist Organization of Afro-American Unity. Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965 while giving a speech in New York.
The MALIK Fraternity was founded on May 13th, 1977 at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. The first African founded fraternity in the eastern hemisphere, MALIK's purpose was the "reclamation of the stolen legacy," according tomalikfraternity.com. The stolen legacy is a term which refers to the "connect of western civilization to African continental and cultural history, while affording proper recognition of the African contributions to world civilization."
The event opened with a modern dance to "Missing You" by Whitney Houston, which was followed by a motivational speech by Reverend Lee Challenger.
"Though you may lose, don't lose the lesson. Though we have lost Malcolm, we have not lost his lessons," said Challenger.
Challenger also pointed to the meaning of MALIK, which is "man."
"If Malcolm was the best example of manhood, and he died in 1965 and it is now 2011, where are the Malcolms?" said Challenger.
Next the faternity played a eulogy written and spoken by Ozzie Davis, an African-American director/actor/writer and social activist.
As the evening drew to a close, Hofstra senior and MALIK brother, Rodell Bedward, recited a poem written by his sister titled, "If I Were King."
Finally Pina led the ensemble in vigil, lighting the first candle in honor of Malcolm X. He then invited the members of the audience to join him. Candles were lit for Martin Luther King Jr., Ozzie Davis, as well as grandparents, mothers and friends. The candles remained lit for a moment of silence, and then the vigil came to an end.
"The event was successful I believe. People came and learned a little something whether they knew about him or not," saidPina.