This week, scores of people gathered around the country to honor one of America’s most prolific civil rights heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A man who was committed to social justice, a champion for equal rights, a hero who encouraged community action through non-violent protests. “Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another,” one of King’s many profound quotes.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s accomplishments are both seismic and countless, but he is often best remembered for having led the March on Washington in 1963, where he delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. During LaBelle’s Annual MLK Day parade, held on the morning of January 20, 2020, a recording of King’s profound and poignant “I Have a Dream” speech was played over loud speakers, as Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden upheld the tradition of being LaBelle’s MLK Day parade leader. The parade route ended at the community center, as the marchers gathered to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community leaders of all ages and backgrounds stood up and spoke to the crowd.
“I think the good thing about LaBelle is everybody I see marching here, from all different backgrounds, all different races, all different languages, it could be such a great example for the Nation,” said Laura Germino, human rights advocate and co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
“I plan to do as much as I can to help bring this community to where it can be. I plan to focus on our children, because they are our future,” said Shywona Ford, Sunset Park Community’s newly appointed President.
Others took turns speaking, urging everyone to do what they can to better themselves and the community, to make good choices, and to make an effort to help one another. As the great Dr. King once said, “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.”
In Clewiston, the Harlem MLK Scholarship Committee, Inc. organized the Annual Martin Luther King Day that was held on Saturday, January 18, 2020. The parade Grand Marshall was Rev. Gwendolyn Patrick, and parade honorees included Senful Sweets owner/baker, Tobi Allen-Johnson, as Business of the Year, as well as Frank and Helen Bailey and family as the Family of the Year. The Harlem MLK Scholarship Committee is a 501c3 non profit organization. A committee of volunteers host different events throughout the year to raise funding for scholarships given to high school seniors. Sunday, January 26 at 4 p.m. the organization will host their Scholarship Service at The Greater Friendship Baptist Church awarding the selected recipients.