“Where Do We Go From Here: 

Keeping The Dream Alive”  Is Theme Of The

City Wide MLK Celebration 37 Annual Event

The Concerned Citizens Following The Dream Committee will present the 37th annual   free City-Wide Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration program on Sunday January 15 at 6 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall. 

According to program coordinator Bessie Patterson, this year’s theme,“WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE: KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE”  takes on special meaning in light of the recent presidential election. Many people she pointed out, are apprehensive about the new administration of President Elect DonaldTrump. But like Dr. King, who never gave up on his dream, and who in fact proclaimed that he had “been to the mountaintop” and saw better days for his people and the nation, we too have to look beyond what may appear to be dark days ahead.

“Like Dr. King, we have to have the faith and belief that things are going   to be better,” she told The Challenger. “We have to keep our heads up and look beyond what it looks like now and see the bright side to what the Lord has in store for His people. We have to look beyond the darkness and see the light…and do so with jubilation ….that’s why I added a comedy section this year. Let’s come out and celebrate. A celebration is always joyful. Bring children too, because we’re honoring young people as well.”

Indeed, Kleinhans will come alive as Dr. King’s legacy is honored through the various performing arts of dance, songs and speech. Participants include Miss Barbara’s School of Dance, The Olmstead High School Band, Melody Rhodes, Torri Young, Angel Vox, the African Cultural Center Dancers, the Performing Arts School Choir, Friendship Baptist Praise Dance Ministry andJoshua’s Generation Choir.                  

Minister Erica Gault, will present a ten minute speech on the theme, “Where Do We Go From Here, Keeping The Dream Alive.” A special added attraction to this year’s performances will be national entertainer,  Christian comedian, Willie Brown & Woody of Atlanta Georgia, “who will lift our spirits with laughter, as we enter a new year, that might be filled with gloom for some. But God is still in control!” continued Ms. Patterson.

Area students will receiveMLK certificates to encourage them to stay in school and pursue a higher level of education. Pioneers and Trailblazers in the community will also be honored. The awardees include Pastor James Giles,who will receive the Community Service Award; Sandy White, Excellence in Communications Award; Edna Gayles Key, Education (Music) Award; Rev. Richard Stenhouse, Interfaith Award; Officer Jennifer D. Whitaker, Heroic Police Woman Award; Luz Milagros Ramos, Community Service Award; and Rafael Suarez, Heroic Firefighter Award. 

Upwards of1,500 persons are expected to attend the event. Admission is free and is the program is being sponsored in part byM&T Bank, Wegmans Food,  Mayor Byron Brown, Councilman Ulysees Wingo, Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams,  Legislator Betty Jean Grant, Councilman Darius Pridgen, Edwards Funeral Home, UNYTS, GBUAHN, ECMC Medical Center, Buffalo Teacher's Federation Inc., The Criterion,  The Challenger Community News, and others.

This is Bessie Patterson’s ninth year serving as coordinator for the annual citywide Martin Luther King Day celebration. See you there!