Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Guests discussing paintings at the Charles Mills exhibit

From celebratory concerts to prayer vigils, South Floridians turned out in full force to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, with a number of unique events scheduled honoring the civil rights leader’s important legacy.

The celebrations started on a prayerful note, as the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee (MLKCC) hosted the “Time for Prayer – Time for Togetherness” prayer vigil last Friday at Lincoln Park. Faith leaders and congregated gather to pray, sing songs, and call for the safety of their children, as well as for greater unity among the community.

The Caribbean Diaspora also got in on the action. In association with the City of Sunrise, the Caribbean Cultural Coalition hosted a special “Night of the Arts” at the Sunrise Civic Center. Guested toured an exhibit featuring paintings of American artist Charles Mills, known for his intimate portrait of black culture.  The evening continues with a bevy of special musical performances from saxophonist Gary Palmer, the Valerie Tyson Band and the Hope Band, along with youth poets from the Jason Taylor Foundation’s Omari Hardwick Bluapple Poetry Network. Dr. King’s iconic “I have a dream” speech was also performed.

The festivities moved on to Miami Gardens with intimate looks at civil right movement’s historic past as well as thoughtful panel discussions on contemporary issues. Held on Sunday at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex, the event included an immersive “Miami Gardens MLK Smithsonian” exhibit, featuring speeches, marches, personal photos and letters from Dr. King. The panel discussion – featuring City Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Ann Marie Sorrell, CEO of the Mosaic Group and Peter Bailey, producer and host of “NiteCap with Peter Bailey” –  explored how to encourage economic empowerment and social action in the community.

The celebrations concluded in Miramar with their annual MLK parade and concert. Local high school bands and carnival dancing troupes performed for the crowd, while city officials joined police and fire department representatives for a special motorcade. The event also included live performances at Lake Shore Park from by RL of the R&B group Next, D Woods of Danity Kane, Taylor Girls, London Young, Karena Clarke, TP9, and the Gospel Motivators.

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