He transformed lives by being a drum major for justice. He fought for social justice because he knew injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere. He felt that if he could help someone along the way, then his living would not be in vain.
From January 15 – 18, 2016, this nation celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and the legacy he left for us to continue. There were many commemorative activities occurring in the Baltimore area over the holiday weekend.
At Ark Church, 1263 E. North Avenue on Sunday January 17, 2016, the youth and young adults presented two skits. The first entitled, “We Remember Civil Rights” was a tribute to Dr. King which took place in a classroom as students spoke of their knowledge of the late great leader. The second skit, “The Story of a Dream” included parts of Dr. King’s speeches. The program was free and open to the public. The program also featured the Ark Angels choir, who stole hearts and sang a song about Dr. King to the tune of Bingo.
Monday, January 18, 2016, The Mayor of Baltimore and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts kicked off the annual MLK parade, now in its 16th year. Grand marshals were Ravens running back Justin Forsett and Sonja Sohn, founder and CEO of Rewired for Change, a non- profit group that empowers youth, families and communities. The parade began at the intersection of Eutaw Street and MLK Boulevard and featured colorful floats and high-stepping marching bands and fraternities in the procession that headed south to Baltimore Street. Various communities assembled to line the parade route and encourage the marchers, the bands and the steppers.
Also on Monday, the American Visionary Art Museum held its observation with a performance by Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company. Included in this free affair was a crown-making workshop and a flutemaking demonstration by Abu the Flutemaker. Snippets from Dr. King’s speech were also featured.
In an effort to acknowledge the up and coming drum majors for justice who are making a change in the communities, the King’s Landing Women’s Service Club held a recognition ceremony during their 41st Annual MLK Prayer Breakfast at Martin’s West, 6817 Dogwood Road on Monday, January 18, 2016. Honorees included: Janet Arce, founder of Fundacion Arce; Larinda Fields, President of It Takes a Village, Inc.; business entrepreneur Barbara Knox; Ameena Kukoyi as outstanding youth; Peggy Murphy Founder of Women in Transition; Catherine B. Orange, director of Arena Players Youtheatre; music maestro Marcus D. Smith; and Pastor P.M. Smith as Man of the Year. There were various dignitaries and politicians in attendance. Music was provided by Rev.Anthony Brown and The Ark Church Male Chorus. Radio personality Anthony McCarthy was the master of ceremonies with author, lecturer and columnist Dwight D. Watkins as the keynote speaker.
,Another activity which occurred was “Encounter”, an MLK Day performance held at St. Frances Academy, 501 E. Chase Street. This performance was free with a suggested donation. The evening included messages to honor the vision and dream of Dr. King.The tribute included theater, dance and songs. Encounter is composed of high school students focusing upon theater training, leadership development and community building.
There were many other activities held throughout the Baltimore area to celebrate the man, the dream, and his legacy. It was a wonderful day for all as we reflected upon the words of the late great civil rights leader, “If America is to become great, we must let Freedom ring”. So let’s work together to make Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of freedom, justice and equality a reality.