31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration of Macomb County
"Building the Beloved Community"
On the evening of January 15, 2018, the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice joined many others who spent the day, even days ahead of celebrating the 31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration of 2018. Others, like Macomb Community College, started days before us. Macomb's annual day of service reminded us that serving others was a tenet of Dr. King's work. Schools such as Chippewa Valley High School invited their students to hear a guest speaker; Evan Green from Rochester College expound Dr. King's mission and the broader meaning of the Civil Rights Movement. Students attended voluntarily, the auditorium was packed for the two seatings. Students were engaged, asking thoughtful questions in their attempt to understand the meaning of what took place in America many years before them. The Macomb Ministerial Alliance held their MLK Annual Breakfast inviting their keynote, Bob Young, Former Chief Justice of Michigan Supreme Court, to share his message on the day's theme "Getting Pass Our Dreams: Mending Broken Bridges."
The Interfaith Center's celebration took on a different look this year. This year U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow opened the program with a greeting. Zoe Zaviski, Payton Mosey, and Destin Hinton, Jocelyn Spooner, Morgan Porter, Camryn Charrette, and Veronica Simson were recognized as winners of the student contests. Tim Kovacs, the recipient of the Mel Miller Award, was introduced. As always, the beautiful performances of the Dakota High School Choir left everyone awestruck. The evening's keynote, Alvin J. Hills IV, co-founder of the Midwest Tech Project and Endless Opportunities, provided thought-provoking information about future endeavors that impact young people. However, this year four people from Macomb County were honored for making a difference in their communities.
A new annual award was introduced, 'The Builders of the Beloved Community'. We wanted to recognize those of Macomb County communities who have shown by example that they have toiled to keep the dream alive by the work that they do every day. They are real builders, and they make our communities a better place for all. The first honorees of the Beloved Community Builder's Award; Sue Coates for the work of Turning Point, Inc; keeping women and children safe from domestic violence and sexual assault for over 40 years. An award in Memory Of Rev. John L. Mack for his years of tireless service as a spiritual leader in our communities was accepted by his son, John Mack. Vivian Powell was honored for quietly going about the work of being a community advocate for the residents in her Clinton Township community. Dr. Judith Pritchett for the work that she has done at MISD. While we all recognize that there is much to do, Dr. Pritchett stands out as a leader for paving the way for progress.
The evening was just as the 2018 MLK Holiday Committee, led by Kirkanne G. Moseley planned it to be. The committee wanted a gathering where those who espouse to Dr. King's Dream would come together in fellowship to celebrate. There were over 400 people in attendance, affirming the belief that the celebration did not need a cast of thousands to deliver a message of faith, hope, and love. Rev. Bart Beebe challenged everyone present to recommit to being the best that we are blessed to be. In closing, please embrace the words of his Benediction.
"May your blessing be upon us all. That as we leave this place we will once again find ourselves strengthened to be the people you want us to be"