Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Martin Luther King Jr. Local Host Committee gathers after listening to student speakers audition for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.
Plans for the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day were finalized at Monday’s meeting of the Martin Luther King Jr., Local Host Committee.
This year, special recognition will be made of the 50th commemoration of the assassination of the 1960s civil rights leader. King, who led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, helped to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and will always be remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, was shot and killed by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously, and Martin Luther King Jr., Day was established as a federal holiday in 1986. This year, the legacy of his life will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on January 14 at Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School, https://maps.google.com/?q=601+Lilly+Street&entry=gmail&source=g”601 Lilly Street.
One of the highlights of the event will be the presentations of student speakers, who were chosen from a group that auditioned at Monday’s meeting. This year’s theme is “The Strength of Love.”
Attendees at the January celebration will hear orations from Gizelle Castillo, a sixth grader at John Adams Elementary School, along with two students from Voyager Secondary School, an 11th grader and a 12th grader.
Gizelle uses her imagination to take the audience from a nightmarish milieu of violence and hatred to the dream world of Disneyland. Wearing Mickey-Mouse ears, she wowed the committee with her metaphors and stage presence. The students from Voyager Academy recounted the struggles that they’ve faced and how discovering a loving and caring environment has changed their attitudes toward life and themselves.
Keynote speaker for the event will be Capt. Janie Kirvin, who was born in Madera County and obtained her doctorate in theology from Dallas/Fort Worth Seminary and Bible College. All members of the community are invited to this special occasion and admission is free of charge.