By Christopher T. Matthews
Thousands of Toledoans attended the 15th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration held on Monday January 18, 2016, at The University of Toledo.
The keynote speaker was Pastor Cori Bush of Kingdom Embassy International, who is leading the Ferguson movement. Other dignitaries that spoke included: Dr. Sharon L. Garber, UT president, Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, Congresswoman, Marcy Kaptur, and Willie Ward, MLK Jr. Academy for Boys, principal, and his assistant, William White, just to name a few.
Dr. Garber gave a warm welcome and spoke on the importance of Dr. King’s legacy and the meaning of obtaining “Justice for All.”
Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson said that, this is an opportunity, not only for us to remember Dr. King’s lessons, legacy and what he stood, it also provides an opportunity for us to teach the youth, and let them know that the struggle continues. And, not to focus, just on racial issues, but the issues that confronts humanity as well.
Pastor Bush of St. Louis, Ferguson, Missouri presented to the audience an example of what it was like to be on the front lines of the protests and demonstrations in August of 2015. When asked about carrying on Dr. King’s legacy she replied, “In order to get change in the world, it starts by each and every person understanding that they are all part of a collective body, and that the body collectively has to do what is necessary and required of us to make a change.”
Congresswoman Kaptur, believes that the life of Dr. King instilled values and principles into the people of this country, which in fact, changed this country for the better. She also stated that, we should all take the lessons of social justice that he taught us and utilize them now in this modern era.
Mr. Ward and Mr. White of Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy spoke on their support for the celebration and the opportunity to expose their students to this type of event. As well as, all the principles of Dr. King and his legacy.
A fifth grader at the MLK Academy for Boys, David Taylor said, “We are here today because Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream for us to be here today.” And when asked how does that make him feel that he is playing a part in fulfilling Dr. Kings Dream he responded, “It feels good.”
Carmen Miller of the Carmen Miller Music opened and closed the event, Director Mr. Walter and the Scott High School Marching Band performed a Musical Introduction, followed by U.S Armed Forces doing an introduction of Honor Guard as well as the Toledo Fire and Police Department conducting a presentation of Colors.
The JV4 singing group performed the National Anthem and the Boy Scout of America led the pledge of Allegiance with the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. Master. Sergeant Steve Kosinski gave a salute to the Fallen Heroes and Matthew J. Hart performed “Amazing Grace.”