Senator Kevin Parker, recalled, Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. was assassinated in Tennessee, while speaking on behalf of sanitation workers who were fighting for fair working conditions and higher pay, noting that the civil rights leader understood the economic paradox of “our community and where we wanted to be.”
During his address at the 19th Annual A Shared Dream Foundation Tribute, In Word, Song & Dance – Homecoming, Sen. Parker spoke of economic opportunity, and promised to fight in Albany for the rights of the community he called on to “dedicate ourselves to economic, social justice, powerful rights, making sure that everybody in our community is taken care of.”
The A Shared Dream Foundation event, in partnership with Sen. Parker, that was held virtually for the last two years due to the pandemic, returned to the Goshen Temple of Seventh-Day Adventists Church in Brooklyn, and applauded for its longevity by the politician.
“I am proud to have sponsored the ‘A Shared Dream Concert’ for the past 18 years and to witness its growth and development as the second largest commemorative event on this day.”
“Honoring Dr. King’s memory and continuing his much-needed legacy demands that we do more than just business as usual. I’m convinced that Dr. King would ask and inspire something more than us.”
“Let’s contemplate how we can make the principles for which he lived and died real in our lives, the lives of our children, and in the life of this nation. In spite our differences, we all share in the dream. Let freedom ring,” said Sen. Parker, who also presented NDNY Explorers, Josiah Rodriguez and Sahara Stewart with $1000 each — A Shared Dream Scholarship.
Dr. King’s quotes were later heard throughout the program, with Sen. Chuck Schumer recalling the legacy of the civil rights leader’s words and deeds, that elevated the entire human race.
“Dr. King was singular and exceptional,” added Sen. Schumer, who advocated to make MLK Day a national holiday. “It was amazing to see how much bigotry we encountered,” he recalled, “but just like Dr. King, we persisted.”
Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado was enthralled by the love that Dr. King shared. “I come to appreciate the deep abiding unconditional love that is reflective in the work of doctor king, his profound commitment to love and servitude, and how certain he was in the power of love. He told us not just in his actions but in his deeds.”
“Born in 1929 and lived in a world where African Americans were treated as second class citizens Dr. King fought until his dying day to ensure that we would one day be treated based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin,” were the indelible words of Council Member Rita Joseph of the 40th Council District.
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke acknowledged the birthday of the reverend doctor Martin Luther King Jr., calling the civil rights leader’s work – the “King’s Paradox”, and commended his legacy.
“It is certainly remarkable, in this, day and age, when we think about how far we have come, the fact that there is a dream that has endured from generation to generation. It was a dream about a mountain top and being able to look over and see the promised land. It was a dream about justice and the moral part of the universe bending towards justice. It was a dream that we would all be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin, said Congresswoman Clarke.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James acknowledged children of the highest king, in the audience, who she said, came together to worship Dr. Martin Luther King, and chastised Washington DC, “who unfortunately don’t believe any of the principles of Dr. King.”
“You and I have an obligation and a duty to make sure that that legacy of Dr. King lives on, that the embers of that flame live on and be reignited. We’ve got to make sure that our children are properly educated, we’ve got to stop gun violence, and seek economic justice,” said AG James.
Thanking Sen. Parker for planning the tribute yearly, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, applauded attendees for lifting Dr. Martin Luther King on his birthday.
“Dr. King fought for economic, and racial equality,” he said and challenged everyone to continue the fight against anti-black racism, and question what the humanitarian would have done if he saw people walking miles and miles from other countries, “seeking asylum in “our city.”
“We must make sure we lift everything that everyone needs, we can do that together,” said Williams.
The tribute of spirited and exciting performances was blessed with a libation by Baba Ifayinka (Carl Fanfair), and Rev. Melvin D. Boone, and opened with the talented Brooklyn Marching Elite.
The hours-long commemoration, emceed by Liz Black, Stellar Award-winning radio personality, and host of WBLS 107.5 FM Sunday Praise Live, was entertained by the Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy, Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet, Canton Shim Craimer, the Kingsboro Temple SDA Church Mass Choir, and many more.
Sherif Fraser, district manager of Brooklyn Community Board 17 in the 21st Senate District, Sonia Daly, who served as a voiceover artist, Ingrid Griffith, Guyanese actress and creator of “Unbossed & Unbowed” a one-woman play, among others, also attended the event.