24th Annual Martin Luther King Holiday Observance

Posted on January 18, 2010

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Interpretive dance from a member of Building Bridges Through Music accompanies their rendition of "A Change is Gonna Come" at today's MLK Day Breakfast

The arts took center stage at the 24th annual Martin Luther King Holiday Observance this morning as poets, essay writers, singers and visual artists performed and presented their work at North Shore Community College. The event was sponsored by downtown Lynn’s Community Minority Cultural Center (CMCC).

One special touch was the inclusion of students from La Vida Scholars, an after-school college preparation program. Prior to the commencement of the official program, about 50 scholars were introduced as a group and then welcomed to sit in the audience. I was impressed by the 2 polite gentlemen that chose our table. Both were on their way to college, and so were able to get to know them and they us.

The three themes or “movements” as they were called in the program book were “Me: Look Within”, “Us: Build Unity” and “One:Work Together.” After an introduction from CMCC executive director Steven Godfrey, Doreen Murray of Building Bridges Through Music (BBTM, formerly Follow Hymn Ministries) sang the Negro National Anthem and the first movement began. Several Kipp Academy students recited original poems and BBTM vocalists performed Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”

For the second movement, La Vida scholar Guilver Gomez delivered his essay on Martin Luther King’s legacy for all immigrants. “The diverse community of Lynn is successful”, Gomez said, “because of the long battle that the African-American community fought to obtain their civil rights. Dr. King used non-violent means to establish rights for minority groups…”

Doreen Murray (center) of Building Bridges Through Music encourages a singer during "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free."

Members of BBTM then sang “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free.” Herby Bernard of the North Shore Haitian-American Association and Iris Rivas of the Lynn YMCA delivered essays for the third movement, followed by Bobby Bishop and Juliana Davis performing their musical tribute “Portrait of a Dream,” composed specifically for this event.

After remarks from Congressman William Tierney, Mayor Judy Flanagan Kennedy, and a benediction from Eugene Schneeberg of Straight Ahead Ministries, the audience participated in a sing-a-long of We Shall Overcome.

A member of St. Stephen's Oasis youth group holds up one of three large posters they created for the event featuring pictures of themselves.

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