For The Madera Tribune
Local host committee, back row, from left, City Councilman Donald Holley, Trish Protzman, Noel Jimenez, and Luther Slack. Front row, from left, Ruth Henderson, Cecilia Massetti, Rose Walker, and Jim Glynn.
“Dreams: The Civil Rights Movement ... Past, Present, Future.” This year’s theme for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. The local host committee met Dec. 10 to audition student speakers in a competition, setting the program celebration for Jan. 20…
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The committee chose six student finalists in the annual competition:
Claire Chaney, a ninth-grader from Chawanakee; Haylee Kazazian, eighth grade, Wilson Middle School in Chowchilla; Karina Alvarado and Mario Aguirre, both eighth grade, and Carmelo Ramirez, seventh grade, all from Madera Unified; and an eleventh grader from Voyager Academy.
The committee chose two to give their presentations at the annual celebration. Haylee Kazazian will talk about her family’s relocation from Jordan to the United States. She’ll explain about stereotyping people from Middle East countries and the First Amendments guarantees. Haylee quoted Dr. King’s comment that faith “is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
The student from Voyager Academy will tell the audience about his background and his determination to be the first in his family to graduate from high school. He’ll explain how he managed to turn away from a life of alcohol and drugs because of his belief in Dr. King’s pronouncements about the “power of love.”
Noel Jimenez, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, will serve as master of ceremonies, and Local Host Committee President Ruth Henderson will give the welcoming address. The Rev. Bert Roper, Madera United Methodist Church, will give the invocation and benediction, and the choir from Mount Zion Baptist Church will entertain the audience with a performance.
Todd Lile, superintendent of the Madera Unified School District, will be the keynote speaker. Margaret Medellin Esquibel and Gloria Brown will receive the year’s humanitarian awards. The award will also be conferred upon Anne Lozano, posthumously.
The event will begin with a reception at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20, at Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School, 601 Lily Street, Madera. All people are welcome, and the event is free of charge.