The Kentwood library held a celebration of the life and teachings of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the community room, consisting of readings from lead organizer Jessica Ann Tyson and Mayor Stephen Kepley, a fact-filled PowerPoint, a powerful and moving musical solo, and food and drink for guests. This celebration was an inaugural event in Kentwood’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day plans, in the works for now two years.
Lead organizer Jessica Ann Tyson led the proceedings, initially admitting she neither knew the late Rev. King or had actually participated in his rallies or demonstrations, but she was determined to keep his ideals alive through the celebration and remembrance of the iconic civil rights leader.
After the introduction came a presentation by the Kentwood ARCH program, the program helmed by Kentwood Public Schools in an effort to aid disadvantaged youth in the bottom 30% of the schools. ARCH stands for academics, recreation, community and health, and it allows students to focus on excelling in the classroom by connecting learning to their everyday lives. Later on, Mrs. Tyson gave out awards to student essayists and artists alike who made contributions to the celebration proceedings. It was a great choice to get the younglings involved in the celebration proceedings, so as to spur on their talents and imaginations with the universal topics Dr. King’s work can provoke.
Mayor Stephen Kepley spoke on how influential the Rev. Dr.’s I have a Dream speech was on his perspective and life choices. A Proclamation was performed by various personnel from around the area of varying ages, cultures, and viewpoints, all in the name of simultaneous equality and diversity.
Craig Tyson performed a song for the guests that was most effective. All present truly felt the emotion of his musical plea for leadership. Tears welled, guests cheered, and this here reporter cannot deny the passionate power of his simple musical interlude.
Passion is a powerful thing; ’tis something that can inspire, unite, employ the emotions of your surroundings to further a cause, and all present at the MLK Jr. celebration knew exactly how to utilize these feelings for the betterment of the community at large. This day speaks to not just persons of color, but to all populations, black, white, brown, pale, dark, big, and small, who believe in justice, equality, and the power of ordinary people in (extra)ordinary times.