Cultural Quarterly
Winter 2009
Volume XXII, Number 1
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Keeping Dr. King's Dream Alive
By Julie Levin

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Through a mix of the arts and community involvement, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee is working to keep a dream alive.

“Our mission is to promote the legacy and ideas of Dr. King through education, celebration and advocacy,” said Wayne Alexander, the chair of the committee.  Based in Lauderhill, the 16-member independent, not-for-profit organization promotes a growing number of events surrounding the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday every January.  

The holiday is seen as having even greater significance this year since its observance on January 19 is just one day before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the country’s first African-American President.  That’s why organizers are expecting close to 3,000 people for their King Holiday Celebratory March and pre-inauguration rally this year.

“This year we have something special to celebrate, so we are modifying the march and will include a lot of American flags, drum lines and a float commemorating the inauguration. It is going to be a festive, celebratory time,” said Alexander.

The march and rally took place January 19, beginning at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, 591 NW 31st Ave. in Fort Lauderdale, at 9:30 a.m. and moved along NW 27th Avenue to Dillard High School. The committee is hoping schools with drum lines, color guards and flag corps will participate. The program will continue at Dillard with entertainment and speakers commemorating both the holiday and the historic inauguration.

For the first time, the committee is also partnering with the YMCA to host a teen rally and step showcase at Delevoe Park.  “We always like to do something just for the youth,” said Alexander.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee was born in 2003 when several volunteer groups that were seeking the same resources around the King holiday banded together and formed one unified organization. Since then, they have organized dozens of events to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive. Last year, they introduced a Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Film Festival in April that coincided with the date of Dr. King’s assassination.

There have been international videoconferences linking students in this country to others all around the world.  Their annual writing and art contest, this year called “The Dream Lives in Me,” is offered in all Broward County schools to help students prepare for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) writing exam.   

“We believe that Dr. King certainly was one of the great leaders this nation has produced. We believe that his philosophy of non-violence, human rights, diversity and equal opportunity are things that really drive this country and offer solutions to a number of our problems,” said Alexander.
For information, visit www.martinlutherkingcc.com or call 954-347-3228.

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