New Yorkers pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King

The (“Hitmakers”) Institutional Radio Choir from Ft Greene opening MLK Day ceremonies at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Photo by William Farrington
William Farrington

Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC) held its annual tribute to Dr. King on Friday, Jan. 13 featuring the world-renowned Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., minister emeritus of Riverside Church and president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation as then keynotye speaker.

Acclaimed by Newsweek magazine as “one of the 12 most effective speakers in the world”, Rev. Forbes opened by saying that he had a vision for healing the soul of America.

“We have a serious problem, a malaise in our nation. If we don’t do something about it, we’re going to be in deep trouble,” he told the ceremony, hosted by the KCHC Pastoral Care Service Department, under the theme, “Reflections of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement and Its Impact on Our World Today”.

“We have too many people who are out of balance. They’re either too materialist or too spiritualist – not thinking about what’s happening in the world,” Rev. Forbes added.

He said the syndrome which Americans are suffering from is: “Dis-quietude and dismay from symptoms of sub-optimizing humanity.”

In other words, he said people are not living up to their full potential, referring to Dr. King’s legacy of empowering people by fighting for their human rights to have employment and dignity.

“Poverty is the most serious weapon of mass destruction,” Rev. Forbes said. “It kills more people than anything else.”

The audience joined arms at the end, symbolizing the message of unity that Dr. King fervently advocated throughout his life.

Citywide Tribute

The annual citywide tribute to honoring Dr. King’s memory was held as usual on Monday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Speakers included: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Medgar Evers President Dr. William Pollard, Derek M. Jenkins, senior vice president, Target Stores, sponsors of the event; City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke.

Community Salute

At Broolyn’s Erasmus Hall High
School’s Academy for College Preparation and Career exploration, State Sen. Kevin Parker and City Council members Mathieu Eugene and Jumaane Williams, in collaboration with Community Board 17, provided information on free immigration services, GED, job training and HIV testing.

Later on Monday, Sen. Parker held his 8th Annual “A Shared Dream” free concert, at the Brooklyn College Whitman Theater.

The musical showcase featured local and diverse performing artists and stellar award-winning gospel recording artist Byron Cage.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio on Monday partnered with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH) for New York’s 9th Annual Serve-A-Thon in honor of Dr. King and his work “to advance civil rights and end hunger.”

More than 40 volunteers joined de Blasio’s staff at seven locations throughout the city to distribute food and inform families about available food assistance programs.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. left behind an unprecedented legacy of service and volunteerism,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

“That is why today—his day—is not a day to relax, but to give back to our communities and help the 1.5 million New York families who don’t know where their next meal will come from,” he added.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott
“The only way to get to the mountaintop … to level the playing field, is if all children get a quality education.”
William Farrington

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