LANSING, Mich. — A record 1,800 people are expected to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 35th Annual MLK Day of Celebration hosted by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan.
“We will celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as recognize the 55th anniversary of the Selma march that hastened passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” said Elaine Hardy, MLK Commission chair. “It will be a full and robust program that also includes a tribute to Congressman John Lewis for his many years of extraordinary service.”
U.S. Rep. John Lewis was scheduled to speak but is limiting his travel due to treatment for pancreatic cancer. He is not expected to attend the Lansing event.
Featured entertainment will be R&B and jazz recording artist Ledisi and Lansing’s The Music of the Dream Orchestra. Ledisi is a 12-time, Grammy-nominated vocal powerhouse, a songwriter and an actress.
Hardy noted Ledisi’s connection with “Bloody Sunday.” Ledisi portrayed Mahalia Jackson in the 2015 Oscar-nominated movie “Selma.” It chronicled King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. More than 600 peaceful protestors were brutally attacked by law enforcement officers.
Among those scheduled to speak at the Day of Celebration are U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, and Mayors Andy Schor, Lansing, and Ruth Beier, East Lansing.
Recognized at the event will be participants and winners of the 2020 MLK Commission art and student essay contests who will receive approximately $25,000 in scholarships and awards.
The commission’s 35th annual MLK Day of Celebration is Monday, Jan. 20, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at Lansing Center, 333 Michigan Ave. It is sold out. This year’s theme is “There Comes a Time When Silence is Betrayal,” a Dr. King quote.
Hardy emphasized, “We will continue to pray for Congressman Lewis’ full recovery and look forward to welcoming him to our community in the future.”
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